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Trucking Laws and Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recorded 475,000 large truck accidents in a study performed in 2016. Semi-Trucks and 18-wheeler accidents are no laughing matter and require very strict regulations due to the inherently dangerous nature of such large vehicles. The federal laws on large trucks are designed to protect the safety of the public at large and they recognize that there are a multitude of reasons why large truck accidents happen that must be carefully addressed.

Lawyer for Large Truck Accidents in Florida

Being involved in a wreck with an 18-wheeler is harrowing enough. Having to additionally deal with a suit against a trucker and the trucking company can be completely overwhelming. The attorneys at Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys are well versed in the complexities of commercial truck accidents and are experienced litigators that will do their best to ensure you are compensated for what you’ve been through.

Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys helps victims all over the Miami-Dade area including Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, Pinecrest, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables and Cutler Bay and are waiting at (305) 709-0880 for  a case evaluation and consultation.

Florida Trucking Laws and Regulation Center

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An Overview of Trucking Laws and Regulations

Commercial trucks are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA regulations are extensive and adopted across the country including in Florida. Due to the inherently dangerous nature of having large commercial trucks on the road, the laws governing 18-wheelers and semi-trucks are much more stringent than for other drivers. The following is just a sampling of the regulations that shows just how seriously the government considers the dangers of truck accidents.

  • 392.3   Ill or fatigued operator.

No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle…

Almost half of all commercial truck drivers admit to dozing off at the wheel. Fatigue is a serious concern for all drivers but when someone is operating a 10,000+ ton vehicle, drifting off, even if for a moment, can prove fatal. The law further requires that truck drivers not drive without taking 10 hours off duty before their shift and can only drive for 14 consecutive hours.  Unfortunately, many trucking companies coerce their drivers to drive on longer than they should to meet deadlines which have led to tragic results.

  • §392.4 Drugs and other substances.

(a) No driver shall be on duty and possess, be under the influence of, or use, any of the following drugs or other substances:

(1) Any 21 CFR 1308.11 Schedule I substance;

(2) An amphetamine or any formulation thereof (including, but not limited, to “pep pills,” and “bennies”);

(3) A narcotic drug or any derivative thereof; or

(4) Any other substance, to a degree which renders the driver incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.

Obviously, we don’t want semi-tractor trailer drivers driving around on drugs but the prevalence of drug related accidents involving large trucks is truly alarming. A study by the FMCSA in 2006 found that prescription, over the counter, or illegal drug usage were a factor in 46% of all large truck accidents. An interesting note here is section (a)(2) which parenthetically specifies “pep” pills and “bennies” as examples,  drugs which are often used to keep the operator awake at the wheel. This is a further recognition that commercial truck drivers are often looking for ways to stay awake while driving.

  •  §392.5   Alcohol prohibition.

(a) No driver shall—

(1) Use alcohol, as defined in §382.107 of this subchapter, or be under the influence of alcohol, within 4 hours before going on duty or operating, or having physical control of, a commercial motor vehicle; or

(2) Use alcohol, be under the influence of alcohol, or have any measured alcohol concentration or detected presence of alcohol, while on duty, or operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle;…

The dangers of drunk driving can never be understated. The FMCSA recognizes these dangers are magnified when behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler. This is why the alcohol prohibition is much more stringent than a regular driver on the road. In fact, section 392.5 states that a driver shall not have any “detected presence” of alcohol in their system at all while driving.

  • §392.6   Schedules to conform with speed limits.

No motor carrier shall schedule a run nor permit nor require the operation of any commercial motor vehicle between points in such period of time as would necessitate the commercial motor vehicle being operated at speeds greater than those prescribed by the jurisdictions in or through which the commercial motor vehicle is being operated.

Again this section of the law is the FMCSA’s awareness that commercial truck drivers are often pressured or coerced into unsafe practices to make deadlines. This type of coercion is a common theme in large truck accidents and it can have a significant impact on any trucking lawsuit.

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Additional Resources

FMCSA Statistics for 2016 – The link leads to a compilation of FMCSA statistics for large truck accidents. The report is over 100 pages long and is very detailed showing trends and common causes of large truck accidents.

FMCSA Large Truck Regulations – The sample above is only a snapshot of some of the regulations the FMCSA imposes. The entirety of the FMCSA’s regulations can be found at this link.

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Trucking Accident Attorney in Miami-Dade, FL

Knowing and understanding what regulations truckers and trucking companies must abide by is only part of a successful truck accident litigation. The attorneys at Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys are seasoned trial attorneys that know how to use those regulations to win cases for people who have suffered from a commercial truck accident. We represent injured people in communities throughout the Miami area including North Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Doral, Homestead, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Coral Gables and Pinecrest.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle, you owe it to yourself to get the best representation possible. Reach out to Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys where we have the compassion and experience to battle for your rights. We are ready to evaluate and discuss your  next options if you call (305) 709-0880 to set up an appointment.

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