The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency that enforces comprehensive regulations for trucks and buses that travel over state lines. It also governs any other motor carriers that are registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. (Trucks and buses that do not travel interstate are regulated similarly under Georgia transportation laws.) These wide-ranging regulations apply to virtually anyone involved in the trucking industry, but many of the most important rules apply directly to drivers. The purpose of these regulations is to limit the number of truck accidents on America’s roadways.
When truck drivers violate FMCSA rules and cause an accident in the process, they are presumed negligent and are liable for the harm they have caused. Therefore, anytime a truck collides with other vehicles on the road, one of the most important legal issues is whether any FMCSA regulations were violated. Whether a truck driver or truck company is liable often depends on whether FMCSA regulations were followed.
Compliance, Safety, and Accountability Rules
The FMCSA has promulgated numerous rules to ensure that truck drivers are qualified to do their job. Under FMCSA rules, drivers must know how to maintain, safely operate, and otherwise properly drive their trucks. Drivers must also fulfill certain registration requirements and report all accidents they are involved in to the FMCSA.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
Also important, the FMCSA mandates minimum liability insurance requirements. This guarantees that when accidents do occur, there is always some compensation available for victims. The minimum insurance required depends on the type of truck and the type of cargo—longer trucks or more dangerous cargo requires greater insurance.
Hours of Service Restrictions
The FMCSA regulates the number of hours a driver can work. A major cause of accidents is driver fatigue. An FMCSA study found that roughly 13% of truck accidents were caused by driver fatigue. Due to this risk, the FMCSA limits the total number of hours a driver can work in a day and in a week. Drivers are required to keep track of their driving time in a log book. The current limits are 11 hours per day and 70 hours per week. Drivers must also take at least a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving.
Call Williams Elleby for More Information
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, it is important to consult with an attorney that is familiar with the rules of the FMCSA. Truck accident cases are especially complex because they often require an analysis of both state and federal laws. There can also be multiple defendants involved, from the driver to the trucking company to the manufacturer of the truck itself.
Joel Williams is an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney, and he fights hard to gain his clients the compensation they deserve. He has experience working with accident reconstruction experts and trucking industry experts to build the strongest cases possible. If you would like to discuss your case, call Williams Elleby for a free consultation at 833-LEGALGA.