Trucking Industry Regulations
In an attempt to prevent serious crashes involving large commercial trucks, tractor-trailers, big rigs, and semi-trucks, there are various regulations set forth by the United States Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These are designed to keep the safety of the truck driver and all others on the road in mind. Two of the most important regulations involve the maximum weight of the truck and the way the trailer is loaded, as well as the Hours of Service regulations. When drivers violate these regulations, they leave themselves and others susceptible to serious crashes. However, it’s important to know what these regulations mean, who can violate them, and how they can cause a collision.
Weight Restrictions & Proper Cargo Loading
Commercial trucks are large enough. When they are carrying extensive amounts of cargo, they can reach massive weights. It’s important to know, though, that these trucks and trailers should not exceed a combined 80,000 pounds. When they are overloaded, they can cause problems with other parts of the truck, as well as make it difficult to control or stop the truck. When too much weight is in the trailer, stopping becomes more difficult and it can result in brake failure or some other part on the truck breaking, including the hitch. Overloaded trucks are also responsible for numerous jackknifes.
Aside from overloading the cargo, it is also possible to improperly load a trailer by making one side heavier than the other. This becomes dangerous when the truck has to make certain turns in which the heavier side of the trailer is making the bend. The heavier cargo could cause the trailer to turn over, landing it on its side and putting anyone nearby in risk of injury, as well as the truck driver. It is the responsibility of the trucking company owner, the driver, and the cargo loader to make sure the trailer is properly loaded. In some cases, the cargo might be purposely overloaded in order to deliver more products. This is dangerous to do.
Hours of Service Regulations
When a truck weighs more than a certain capacity, is designed to transport passengers — 9 or more for compensation or 16 or more not for compensation — or transporting hazardous materials, the driver must follow the Hours of Service regulations. Depending on the type of truck being driven, the driver is only allowed to operate the vehicle for a certain number of hours before they must take a break. For instances, if they are transporting cargo, they may only drive a maximum of 11 hours after they have been off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
By implementing these Hours of Service regulations, it prevents the truck driver from driving while fatigued, which increases the risk of a crash. However, often due to tight deadlines and trucking companies wanting to deliver beyond expectations, drivers may be encouraged to violate these regulations while also altering their driver’s logs in order to reflect the time. These violations can lead to the trucking company being in trouble and the driver could lose his or her position.
At The Beasley Firm, our Philadelphia truck accident attorneys are dedicated to our clients and we have been trusted to help secure favorable resolutions in these types of cases. We know the dangers these large vehicles present on the road, especially when the drivers, company owner, or other employee are negligent in their duties. If you or someone you love has been injured,call our firm and discuss your potential options with our skilled lawyers. We’re here to hold the negligent party accountable and seek compensation for the injuries you have sustained.