Federal Trucking Laws in Denton

Federal Trucking Laws in Denton

It is well understood that commercial vehicle drivers have additional requirements to be allowed to operate these large tractor-trailers. However, in addition to local regulations setting standards for semi-truck drivers and their employers, they must also abide by federal trucking laws. In Denton, our experienced attorneys are well-versed in the different requirements big rig operators must meet and could help determine if they were violating these standards at the time of your wreck.

Who Regulates the Trucking Industry in the United States?

In the United States, the trucking industry is regulated by the Department of Transportation through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act. This act sets the framework for all industry regulations and standards.

Notably, this act does not define negligence, meaning somebody can still be negligent and in compliance with the FMCSA. However, proving a truck driver or their employer in Denton were violating federal regulations could be strong evidence of negligence in an ensuing claim.

Commercial Vehicle Laws Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

One of the key standards the FMCSA sets is the maximum number of hours of service a truck driver may operate. This includes regulating the number of hours they can be behind the wheel, how many hours they are required to take a break, and how much time must past before they can begin driving again. As such, truck drivers are required to maintain logs to track this.

It also requires all commercial vehicle drivers to get medical clearance to ensure they are safe to handle big rigs and that they have the physical attributes to handle it. Unfortunately, some trucking companies in Denton fail to hire drivers in accordance to federal laws and may lie about the driver’s history of wrecks. Additionally, 18-wheeler companies are required to perform random drug testing on at least half of their drivers each year.

Furthermore, federal trucking laws also regulate the semi-trucks themselves. For instance, there are certain safety equipment that must be on each big rig, such as working brakes, reflective tape on the trailer, and working lights.

Insurance Coverage Requirements

The required insurance coverage for a tractor-trailer depends on whether the vehicle hauls exclusively in Texas and what the vehicle is actually hauling. In Texas, a commercial driver of 18 wheelers must maintain minimum of $750,000.00 per incident in liability insurance if the carrier is only driving within the state.  If the carrier is driving as an interstate driver, commercial driver of 18 wheelers must maintain minimum of $1,000,000.00 liability coverage. However, if the freight is considered hazardous, this can increase to a required minimum of $5,000,000.00 liability coverage.

Who Could Be Liable for a Tractor-Trailer Wreck?

In most cases, the truck driver themselves is going to be held liable and their employer’s insurance company with pay for the damages caused by the trucker. However, the trucking company itself can be held liable under direct negligence theories under certain circumstances such as if they did not maintain the truck in accordance with federal regulations, if they were negligent in hiring or in supervising their driver. Last of all, in certain rare situations, the freight broker or shipper who hired the trucking company can be held responsible for hiring a trucking company with a particularly bad driving record. A local truck injury attorney could review the case to determine the correct liable party.

Discuss Federal Trucking Laws with a Denton Attorney

Commercial drivers are required to uphold state and usually federal trucking laws in Denton and throughout Texas. Failure to do so could be proof of negligence in a civil case. If you believe the truck driver in your case was in violation of federal or local law at the time of your collision, reach out to our team to schedule a free consultation.

McCraw Law Group

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