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Violations of California and Federal Trucking Regulations

Truck Accident Attorney Serving San Bernardino, CA

Trucking regulations, both state and federal, are in place for the safety of truck drivers and all people that share the road with these large vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing safety regulations and increasing awareness of commercial vehicle safety. In California, the trucking industry is regulated by several agencies, including the Department of Transportation Office of Truck Services, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Motor carriers and their employees have a legal obligation to follow the regulations set forth and enforced by these state and federal agencies.

When safety regulations are not followed, this can have disastrous effects. Serious collisions involving large trucks and other commercial vehicles can cause catastrophic or fatal injuries, sometimes to multiple people in one truck accident. At Pacific Attorney Group, we are committed to helping those who have been injured by the wrongdoing or negligence of trucking companies and truck drivers. If you were injured in a truck accident in the San Bernardino area, a lawyer at our firm may be able to help you determine how to seek justice.

An Overview of Trucking Regulations

Trucking regulations pertain to virtually all areas of the transportation of goods by way of large trucks, including semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, flatbeds, 18-wheelers, big rigs and tanker trucks. This includes vehicle size and weight limits, the types of cargo that can be transported, truck routes, traffic laws pertaining specifically to large trucks and commercial drivers, licensing of commercial drivers, truck driver drug and alcohol testing, driver hours, driver rest periods and more. Each of these regulations is in place to promote the overall safety of this industry and its influence on traffic accidents.

Weight limits, for example, are in place to not only protect the vehicle and its parts but to ensure it does not damage roadways. Vehicles have limits set forth by manufacturing guidelines and should also comply with California truck weight limits if driving in the state. For example, the maximum weight allowed for a vehicle or vehicle combination (such as a tractor and trailer) is 80,000 pounds. The maximum weight limit per single axle is 20,000 pounds. The maximum weight limit per tandem (double) axle is 34,000 pounds. Vehicles may be able to carry heavier loads with special overweight permits.

Federal hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers are in place to protect the health of drivers and to prevent traffic accidents. FMCSA regulations dictate the number of hours a commercial truck driver may operate a vehicle, how many hours a driver may remain on duty before he or she must take a rest break, how many hours a driver may be on duty in a work week, and how much rest a driver must take before returning to work. As of July 1, 2013, the maximum allowed work week for commercial drivers is 70 hours. Drivers may resume working after a rest period of 34 consecutive hours. Drivers must take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of a shift. Drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours in a day and may only work 14 hours in a day.

There are many other trucking regulations that apply to motor carriers and drivers. These parties have an obligation to understand and comply with these, and when they don't, they may face heavy fines. People who are injured in collisions caused by violations of trucking regulations may also hold at-fault companies or drivers responsible through personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. To learn more, contact a San Bernardino truck accident lawyer at our firm.

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