The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is a branch of the Department of Transportation in the U.S. that governs and enforces trucking rules and regulations. If a truck driver operates a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV), these rules and regulations are applicable, as they were established to keep truck drivers, other motorists, and our roads safe.
However, it is no secret that commercial trucking companies make a profit from each shipment that is delivered. Shipment delays can affect their bottom line, and as such, many truck drivers fail to follow the guidelines and laws established to ensure the safety and protection of other motorists. Oftentimes, large trucking accidents leave motorists severely injured or dead. Knowing the federal rules that truck drivers are required to follow helps to keep everyone on the roadways safe.
Federal FMCSA Rules
According to Title 49, Part 383 of the FMCSA, an operator of a CMV must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). A truck driver must be 21 years of age, pass the CDL tests, hold a regular driver’s license, have a clean driving record, and be in good physical condition.
Hours of Service
Truck drivers operate their CMV for long hours, which can lead to fatigue and poor decision making. The Hours of Service Regulations were enacted to ensure that truck drivers follow safe guidelines for rest and sleep, keeping themselves and our roadways safe. These guidelines are strict — and enforced — so that truckers comply with the regulations by only working for certain periods of time before they must take a break from driving their CMV.
Logging Hours Electronically
Truck drivers are required to maintain an Electronic Logging Device, which connects to their truck’s engine and records their driving times accurately. These devices are mandatory in order to comply with the Electronic Logging Device Rule and make it easier for truck drivers to track their mileage.
Training and Physical
Truck drivers sit for long hours, and oftentimes transport hazardous material in perilous conditions. In order to stay compliant and keep their CMV license, a truck driver must undergo special training and pass a physical exam every two years.
Alcohol and Drug Testing
While federal laws prohibit motorists from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the FMCSA has established stricter policies regarding the abuse of these substances. The following are the rules established by the FMCSA:
- No CMV driver must have a blood alcohol content above 0.02 when operating a truck
- No CMV driver may carry alcohol with them while driving (unless it is part of the cargo)
- No CMV driver can consume any alcohol or drugs for eight hours prior to the beginning of their driving shift
Ensuring that the cargo carried is secure is imperative for the safety of the CMV driver and other motorists. The FMCSA has established guidelines, which were updated in 2004, that require trucking cargo to be tied down and secured in specific ways to ensure safety for our roadways.
Contact a Trucking Accident Lawyer
If you, or a loved one were affected by a trucking accident in California, put your case in knowledgeable and experienced hands. Call The Law Office of Daniel H. Rose at 415-946-8900 for a free, no-obligation, confidential initial consultation and case evaluation by a knowledgeable truck accident personal injury attorney.