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The Role of Federal Regulations in Truck Accident Cases

The Role of Federal Regulations in Truck Accident Cases

Drivers (and trucking companies) must adhere to strict state and federal rules and regulations to operate a large commercial truck in Texas.

The outcome of a truck accident can be devastating, leading to serious injuries and fatalities, which is why such stringent requirements have been established.

At The Burkett Law Firm, our truck accident attorneys fully understand the rules and regulations that apply to CDL drivers. If you are involved in a truck accident, you can rely on our knowledge and expertise to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.

The Impact of Federal Regulations on Texas Truck Accident Cases

All drivers on the road must follow the rules established by their jurisdiction. However, truck drivers must meet additional requirements because of how much time they spend on the road and the possibility of devastating injuries and fatalities if an accident occurs.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, creates federal trucking regulations.

This organization has created rules for almost all aspects of the trucking industry. The purpose of these rules is to help keep the roads safe.

Federal Laws That Apply to Texas Truck Drivers

Laws that apply to most truck drivers in the U.S. can be seen in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The FMCSA enforces these laws and regulations.

The rules covered by Title 48 encompass many aspects of the trucking industry. Some examples of federal regulations Texas truck drivers must abide by include the following:

Hours of Service Rules 

The hours of service rules restrict the hours a driver can remain on the road, actively driving, before a break is required. The hours-of-service rules were established to help prevent issues related to truck driver fatigue.

English Language Comprehension

All commercial truck drivers must be able to speak and read English at a level that allows them to read highway signs and speak to the public. Specific rules related to this law are in Title 49, Part 391.11.

Truck Driver Log Book

All commercial truck drivers must keep a daily lvbog that documents their work. This is called the “driver’s record of duty status.”

Drug and Alcohol Testing

There are strict rules for testing commercial truck drivers for drugs and alcohol. All drivers are subject to random tests at any time.

Additionally, drivers with a CDL have a lower “legal limit” BAC (blood alcohol concentration) across the country.

Cell Phone Use Policy 

It is illegal for commercial truck drivers (across the country) to text while driving or to use a hand-held mobile phone while behind the wheel.

While these are the commonly known regulations for truckers in Texas, there are other federal regulations to know, too. These include the following:

Regulations Related to Sleep Apnea

Truck drivers with sleep apnea may not remain alert while behind the wheel. This can lead to a devastating accident. If a driver is diagnosed with sleep apnea or another medical condition impacting their ability to drive safely, they may not be classified as medically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

CDL Acquisition and Ongoing Requirements  

To drive a commercial vehicle, drivers must meet certain requirements and stipulations. One is that they are a minimum of 18 for intrastate truck operation and 21 for interstate truck operation.

Potential Penalties for CDL Violations

While the penalties you face for a CDL violation vary based on the situation, some of the most common include the following:

  • Fines issued by federal, state, or local officials
  • CDL suspended or revoked
  • Jail sentence

If a commercial truck driver is penalized after causing an accident with you or someone in your family, it is important to understand your legal rights. It is smart to speak to our experienced truck accident attorneys at The Burkett Law Firm immediately.

Why Does It Matter if These Rules and Regulations Are Violated?

When the above laws are violated, it can indicate liability. This is important if you file a personal injury or wrongful death claim. The FMCSA regulations create new complications in truck accident cases.

Our attorneys can help determine what laws and factors will impact your situation; however, some of the ways these laws make truck accident cases unique can be found here.

The Need for Additional Input from Experts

FMCSA regulations have introduced new rules for truck accident cases. Our attorneys will work to identify possible violations, which requires unique expertise.

Recreating or modeling truck accidents is also more challenging than regular car accidents. Because of this, cases involving FMCSA violations often require specialized experts to determine liability.

The Possibility of Negligence Per Se

Usually, car accidents require the victim to show that the other driver acted negligently and that negligence caused the collision. Usually, this requires proving the legal elements of negligence, which include duty, breach, causation, and damages. However, there is another legal aspect called negligence per se.

Claiming negligence per se is possible if the truck driver violated a regulation or statute while driving. The FMCSA regulations create a new possible source of liability in these cases.

Truck Company Liability

Truck accidents are unique from car accidents in many ways. One aspect that makes them different is that most truck drivers are trucking company employees. The company is responsible for ensuring drivers are trained and adhere to the FMCSA regulations.

Because of this, trucking companies may also be considered liable when trucking accidents occur. One reason is that trucking companies can be liable for the negligent hiring or retention of drivers.

If a truck company does not invest time and effort into screening drivers before hiring them, they may be considered liable if the driver causes an accident.

Protect Your Rights to Compensation After a Texas Truck Accident

If you are involved in a Texas truck accident and experience injuries or losses, you have the right to file a claim and recover compensation (in most cases). At The Burkett Law Firm, our legal team can help you assess your case and determine the liable party.

We can also determine if FMCSA laws were violated when your accident occurred. This plays a role in helping you recover compensation in these accident cases.

The aftermath of a truck accident can be devastating, and our experienced attorneys are ready to help you file a claim and recover the compensation you are entitled to.

Investigating a truck accident requires special knowledge and a full understanding of the federal, state, and local laws that apply to the case. Thanks to our decades of experience in the Corpus Christi area, you can count on our attorneys to have the necessary knowledge to handle your case.

The first step is to contact our office to schedule a free consultation. There is no obligation; we can learn about the facts of your accident to determine if you have a viable claim.

Read More

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Determining Fault in a Corpus Christi Truck Accident


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