Federal 18-Wheeler (Tractor-Trailer) Regulations
Since 1939, the federal government has tried to regulate the interstate trucking industry in an effort to guarantee the safe operation of these massive motor vehicles, thereby preventing devastating collisions and injuries. Today, the trucking industry must adhere to guidelines set by both state and federal agencies. The federal agency overseeing the operations of all trucking companies is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA has established numerous regulations and requirements over the years.
Below are some of the most common federal regulations used in prosecution of negligent trucking companies. Victims throughout the nation and Illinois should retain an experienced tractor-trailer (18-wheeler) accident lawyer who can apply the pertinent laws to the lawsuit.
For further explanation of any law or regulation related to interstate trucking, contact an 18-wheeler accident attorney who can help
385: Safety Fitness Procedures:
- This code outlines the safety procedures that determine the safety fitness of a large truck, assigns safety ratings to trucks dependant on these procedures, and directs trucking companies and drivers to take the necessary steps to rectify any unsafe conditions on the truck.
387: Minimum Insurance Coverage:
- This guideline stipulates the minimum amount of insurance any particular trucking company is required to carry. Trucking companies are required to maintain high levels of financial responsibility in order to encourage the safe operation of commercial trucks.
391: Qualifications of Drivers:
- Drivers must meet certain standards and expectations before legally operating a semi truck. These qualifications include: (1) the driver must be at least 21 years old (2) the driver must speak enough English so that he/she can understand simple conversations and read important traffic signs and (3) the driver must have a valid commercial driver's license.
392: Operation of Commercial Vehicle:
- This regulation provides specific rules that apply when a person is operating a commercial truck, including alcohol and drug prohibitions, frequency of inspections, conditions of equipment, and more.
396: Inspection, Repair, Maintenance:
- Trucking companies are required to perform frequent, routine inspections and repairs on all truck equipment and parts before embarking on any long trip. The inspection must include a thorough examination of the lights, reflectors, mirrors and windshields. There are also specific requirements for safety inspections within the engine, which encompass the radiator, engine fan, engine belts, alternator, water pump, oil, and much more. These inspections serve to ensure the truck is in ideal working condition and are an integral part of interstate trucking safety.
These federal regulations act as preventative measures, but the party ultimately responsible for safe operation of a commercial truck is the driver. If the driver violates these guidelines and a serious accident results, the trucking company that hired the driver may be liable for injuries sustained by the passengers of the other vehicle.
Those injured in a semi-truck accident should contact an attorney who is familiar with all federal regulations. At Healy Scanlon Law Firm, you can speak with an accident lawyer who possesses knowledge and experience regarding the federal and Illinois state regulations and guidelines, and has extensive litigation experience. Every trucking accident attorney at our firm is qualified to help clients determine which federal rules were violated and give advice on the best course of legal action to pursue.