Legal Rights if Truck Violated Federal/Ohio Safety Regulations

With the goal of reducing the number of crashes, injuries, and deaths involving large trucks and buses, several government departments mandate safety standards for the commercial trucking industry . However, in order to reach their destinations on time, some of these regulations are often overlooked at the expense of other drivers’ safety.

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Federal and State Regulations for Trucks

The commercial trucking industry is subject to a vast array of state and federal regulations, which dictate driver qualifications, hours of service rules, vehicle inspection and maintenance, load securement, and other safety standards. When commercial truck drivers or trucking companies fail to comply with safety regulations for trucks, they put the lives of everyone else on the road in danger.

Federal Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates safety standards for the commercial trucking industry with the goal of reducing the number of crashes, injuries, and deaths involving large trucks and buses.

Hours of Service Rules

FMCSA limits the number of hours a truck driver may operate a vehicle in a day or workweek to help avoid or reduce fatigue. The current hours of service rules include:

  • Truck drivers may not drive more than 11 hours or drive after 14 hours since starting a shift until they have taken a 10-hour break.
  • Truck drivers may not drive after 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days.
  • Permits truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body needs to sleep the most – from 1- 5 a.m. and
  • Mandates a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.

Truck drivers are required to maintain logbooks, which must contain an accurate and complete record of their activities for each 24-hour period. According to a recent report, the most common violation in roadside inspections in 2015 was the failure to log, update, or provide accurate records of their duty status. Overall, there were 136,585 hours of service violations in 2015.

Maintenance, Inspection, and Repair Requirements

Under the current federal regulations, truck drivers and trucking companies must regularly inspect, repair, and maintain trucks and their equipment to ensure that their vehicles are in proper working condition. Truck drivers must also keep maintenance records. Trucking companies must adequately train their drivers so that they know how to safely operate, maintain, and inspect their vehicles.

Driver Qualifications

Federal regulations also set the minimum standards for driver qualifications. In order to operate a commercial vehicle, drivers must:

  • Be 21 or older
  • Be able to read and speak English sufficiently enough to converse with the general public, read and read traffic signs and signals, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records
  • Have adequate experience or training to safely operate the type of commercial vehicle he or she drives
  • Meet physical qualifications to operate a commercial truck
  • Have a current, valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued only by one State or jurisdiction
  • Has furnished his/her employer with a driving record or certificates
  • Not be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle
  • Have successfully completed a driver’s road test and been issued a certificate of a driver’s road test

Trucking companies are responsible for making sure that drivers are qualified by conducting a pre-employment screening of the employees driving record.

Ohio Regulations

Ohio sets the necessary requirements to obtain a commercial driver’s license and has incorporated virtually all of the Federal Motor Carrier regulations into state law. The Ohio Revised Code also sets commercial vehicle size and weight limits and when oversized loads are permitted.

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission enforces state and federal safety regulations by conducting roadside inspections and on-site motor carrier compliance reviews. More than 3,000 penalties were assessed over the past year, which resulted in $2.5 billion in fines.

Knowledgeable Representation for Your Truck Accident Case

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for truck drivers and their employers to violate state and federal regulations for trucks to increase productivity and profits. When someone is injured or killed because a truck driver or trucking company disregarded safety regulations, they should be held accountable. If you have been hurt in a truck accident caused by the negligence actions of a truck driver or trucking company, the Ohio truck accident attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick are here to help you understand your rights.

Our attorneys have detailed knowledge of state and federal regulations and how they can impact your case. We will investigate your accident to determine liability and help you fight for the maximum available compensation for your injuries. To find out how we can help, contact us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW. We offer a free, no-risk consultation.

Our firm is open and following social distancing guidelines. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about our safety procedures.
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