If you or someone you love has been the victim of a Chicago truck crash, you may be wondering about truck driver negligence and truck driver requirements. Contact an Illinois truck accident attorney who can help you file a personal injury claim in the wake of a truck accident.
There are very specific federal requirements for truck drivers which are meant to ensure safety on the road. These regulations may play a role in your truck accident claim in the event that a driver violated federal regulations leading up to your truck accident.
Trucking Regulations: The Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles
Listed below are some of the areas covered by federal regulations in the driving of commercial motor vehicles:
- Ill or fatigued operator;
- Drugs/Other substances;
- Prohibition of alcohol;
- Speed limits and schedules;
- Caution in hazardous conditions;
- Using seat belts;
- Emergency signals; and
- Flame producing devices.
Listed below are a few strictly prohibited practices:
- Taking on board any unauthorized persons;
- Towing or pushing; and
- The use of radar detectors.
Trucking Regulations: Parts/Accessories Needed for Safe Operation
There are federal regulations for parts and accessories needed to ensure safe operation of a commercial motor vehicle. Some of them include:
- Use of lamps and reflective devices;
- Hazard warning signals;
- Brake systems;
- Warning signals;
- Tires (in good repair);
- Windshield wiping and washing systems;
- Rear-vision mirrors; and
The absence of any of these parts can lead to a serious truck accident and may constitute negligence on behalf of a trucking company or truck driver.
Trucking Regulations: Inspection, Repair and Maintenance
Regulations for the inspection, repair, and maintenance of commercial motor vehicles include:
- Ensuring all parts are in good working order;
- Inspection of driver/driver vehicle;
- Qualifications of inspector(s); and
- Recordkeeping requirements.
Trucking Regulations: Ill or Fatigued Drivers
Ill or fatigued truck drivers are not permitted to operate a commercial motor vehicle if:
- Impairment exists in driver’s alertness or ability; and/or
- Driver is likely to become impaired because of illness, fatigue or any other cause.
In either of these cases if safety is a factor, then a driver must not continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle. If, however, there is a situation where a hazard to others would be increased by complying with these regulations, then a driver is allowed to continue operation of the commercial motor vehicle until they are able to get to the nearest place in which the hazard is removed.
Truck Driver Regulations: Hours of Service
Regulations exist for hours of service for truck drivers:
- Maximum driving time;
- Driver’s record of duty status/declared out of service; and
- Automatic on-board recording devices.
If a driver were to violate these federal trucking regulations-for instance by exceeding the maximum driving time-your Chicago truck accident lawyer may be able to use evidence of this negligence while building your truck accident claim.
Truck Driver Regulations: Hours of Service (HOS)
There are regulations that limit when and how long the driver of a commercial motor vehicle may drive. These regulations are in place to ensure that drivers are able to safely operate their vehicles.
Final Rule on Hours of Service (HOS)
The final rule on hours of service, which became effective January 19, 2009, are that a driver can drive a commercial vehicle-such as a semi truck-up to 11 hours within a 14 hour, non-extendable window from the start of the driver’s workday. This must come after spending at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.
Drivers can restart calculations of the weekly on-duty limits after having at least 34 consecutive hours of being off duty. This is known as the 34-hour restart.
Truck Driver Regulations: Common Questions
- Do HOS regulations apply to intrastate commerce? No, intrastate commercial vehicle regulations fall under the jurisdiction of each state.
- What are some of the penalties for violating HOS? Penalties can include a driver being shut down roadside, all the way to being fined.
- Can a driver be called after 8 hours of being off-duty to report to work 2 hours later? Yes, since the regulations don’t control communications between drivers and motor carriers, however, a driver is not required to drive during the 10 hours of being off-duty.
When truck driver requirements are followed the roads become safer. Unfortunately, not all truck drivers or trucking companies adhere to federal trucking regulations and truck driver negligence can lead to a serious accident. If you have been involved in a Chicago truck crash contact a Chicago truck accident lawyer.