Trucks are essential to intra- and inter-state commerce in the United States. They are an integral part of the economy, but they also pose a great risk to other road users because of their size. Because of this, trucks and truck companies are monitored by strict federal and state regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets standards for truck operations across the United States, and the Nevada Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates truck operators in Nevada. When a truck company’s violation of the regulations causes injury, they can be held liable for the resulting damages.
Commonly Violated Truck Regulations
Federal and state truck regulations exist to ensure truck owners maintain their vehicles, drivers are licensed and competent, and trucks are operated safely for the protection of other road users. These regulations cover a wide range of areas including hours of service, loading rules, training and hiring rules, and maintenance.
Hours of Service (HOS) Rules
HOS regulations limit the number of hours truck drivers can operate a truck. These regulations, which are designed to allow drivers get adequate rest and prevent driver fatigue, apply to drivers of commercial motor vehicle drivers who operate trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more, or trucks designed to transport nine or more passengers for compensation. The HOS rules regulate the number of hours of cumulative driving allowed without a break to avoid driver fatigue. This regulation is commonly violated in an effort to meet delivery deadlines and increase earnings.
Vehicle Maintenance Rules
To ensure they are safe to operate and pose no danger to other road users, trucks must be frequently and properly maintained. Truck owners are required to conduct regular inspections, maintenance, and repair of brakes, lights, tires, wheels and rims, suspension systems, axles, and other parts and accessories required to safely operate a truck. Truck owners try to avoid frequent maintenance to avoid the expense.
Loading and Securement Rules
Trucks carrying cargo must be loaded and secured properly to prevent the cargo from shifting, getting loose, or falling in transit. The rules provide for how cargo must be placed and restrained on a truck to avoid potential mishaps while in transit. Truck owners avoid these rules trying to maximize the load on each trip.
Truck owners are responsible for the hiring, training, supervising, and retaining of qualified drivers. Qualified drivers must be at least 21 years old, pass a driver’s test, have one valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license, physically able to carry out all duties of a driver, and speak and read English satisfactorily.
Drug and Alcohol Testing Rules
Truck owners must ensure that their drivers are enrolled in a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol program. Like all other vehicle drivers, truck drivers are prohibited from operating their trucks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These substances can impair their judgment and reaction time when on the road, but some drivers use these substances to cope with the stress of working in the trucking industry.
If you are ever involved in a truck accident, it is important to consult with an experienced Las Vegas truck accident attorney to determine if a violation of a trucking regulation may have been a contributing factor to the accident. The truck accident lawyers at Koch & Brim, LLP use the FMCSA’s trucking regulations to hold trucking companies accountable for their violations. Call us today at 702-410-6034 to schedule a free consultation.