When you have been injured in a truck accident you may feel a number of emotions ranging from anger and confusion to hopelessness and a sense of not knowing what to do next. As leading Philadelphia trucking accident lawyers, the law firm of McEldrew Young Purtell, has successfully helped men, women, children, and families who have been the tragic victims of a truck accident. Negligence is often a factor in these accidents, so let on of our Philadelphia trucking accident lawyers review your case and explain to you what your options might be.
Federal Regulations that Govern Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are governed by stringent rules and regulations to ensure they operate commercial vehicles in the safest possible manner while delivering the cargo efficiently. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determines the laws needed to ensure these heavy vehicles are operated by professionals to limit safety risks for other drivers and passengers on the road.
Licensing and Physical Requirements
Truck drivers are expected to meet licensing requirements, and there are penalties for not doing so. First, they must have a standard driver’s license. Then they must pass knowledge and driving tests for operating a standard semi-truck (those that are rated for over 10,000 lbs). Once the tests are passed, the driver earns a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Drivers are also required to go through additional training and pass a physical exam every two years to ensure they’re in a reasonable state of health. If a driver wants to transport hazardous materials, additional tests are mandatory.
Hours of Service
To eliminate fatigued drivers on the road, truckers may only be on shift for a total of 14 hours, 11 of which can be spent driving. After eight hours, the driver is required to take a half-hour break. They are then required to be off duty for at least 10 hours before driving again. As experienced Philadelphia trucking accident lawyers, we can say that this rule is often broken and a leading cause of accidents.
Truckers are responsible for keeping a daily record of their hours including driving times, breaks, miles driven, and more. These can be checked at any time by a government official. There are now electronic logging devices that are required by various states. These accurately track records and can assist the right Philadelphia trucking accident lawyers during their investigation.
Alcohol and Drugs
Truckers are under stricter rules than regular drivers. They cannot have a blood alcohol level over 0.02 to begin their shift and cannot carry any along with them unless it is part of their cargo. They must also abstain from alcohol or other drugs for eight hours before their next driving shift.
Some laws regarding cargo securing were changed in 2004 to minimize the chances of items falling off while driving. This includes better ways of tying cargo down and using improved securing devices.
All vehicles are required to have certain markings to legally transport goods. This includes their USDOT number, hazmat markings, and any other required cargo identification.
Know Your Rights
Understanding the regulations that truck drivers are expected to comply with is important in an accident situation. Protect your rights and consult with a truck accident lawyer in Philadelphia who can help determine whether or not the driver was following the law when your accident occurred.
To schedule a free consultation with some of the top Philadelphia trucking accident lawyers, call the law firm of McEldrew Young Purtell.