Federal Trucking Laws in Chattanooga

The U.S. economy depends on commercial vehicles to transport goods throughout the country. Every day, trucks cross through the area on their way to destinations around the country. Although commercial trucks are vital to the success of a thriving economy, those same trucks can hinder other drivers who must share the roads with them. Trucks get into accidents every day, and those accidents can cause life-altering injuries and fatalities for those involved.

Fortunately, seasoned legal counsel could help explain how federal trucking laws in Chattanooga might apply to your particular accident. A dedicated tractor-trailer accident attorney could also help you obtain the money you deserve from the people responsible for causing the accident.

Why Federal Trucking Laws Exist

The federal government enacted laws to govern the trucking industry, aiming to ensure the safety of both truck drivers and others who share the roads with them. The laws are supposed to lessen the possibility of unnecessary trucking accidents. However, when people violate these laws and somebody suffers an injury, those wrongdoers need to be held accountable for their actions.

Sometimes, truckers violate the laws by driving negligently, while other times, their employers contribute to accidents by being more concerned about their bottom financial line than safety. Either way, the responsible parties must be held accountable for their mistakes. A dedicated local attorney would work diligently and aggressively towards that cause.

What Laws Apply in Trucking Accidents?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates many aspects of the commercial trucking industry. It sets restrictions on how long truckers are permitted to drive, how much cargo trucks can carry, and how to maintain trucks properly.

Commercial Licenses

All truck drivers must hold commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) before entering the roadways. There are different classes of CDLs, depending on the type of truck that the trucker intends to operate. Drivers who hold CDLs have obtained the necessary training and are usually qualified to drive commercial trucks.

Hours of Service Limitations

Truckers have strict time limitations on the number of hours they can drive. Generally, they must obey the following restrictions:

  • 11-hour driving limit: truckers can drive for a total of 11 hours if they have had 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • 14-hour limit truckers can be on duty for a maximum of 14 consecutive hours after being off duty for 10 hours.
  • 30-minute break from driving: after an 8 hour driving period, drivers must take a 30-minute break from driving.
  • 60/70-hour limit: truckers cannot drive after either 60 or 70 hours on duty, depending on whether they have been on duty for 7 or 8 consecutive days.
  • Truckers can start a new work week after 34 hours off-duty.

Some truck drivers feel pressured by their employers to adhere to unrealistic and unsafe time deadlines. This can cause them to violate the federally mandated driving limitations, which could lead to severe accidents.

Truck Maintenance

Federal law requires trucks to go through routine inspections, maintenance, and repairs. Before and after driving their vehicles, truck drivers need to inspect their trucks for damages to ensure safety. Additionally, trucking and loading companies must adhere to federally mandated weight limitations, as overloaded trucks can cause severe accidents for all involved. Experienced counsel in Chattanooga could help a claimant gather evidence to prove how a truck driver or trucking company violated federal trucking laws.

Work with an Attorney Who Understands the Federal Trucking Laws in Chattanooga

Federal trucking laws in Chattanooga are supposed to safeguard against trucking accidents. When people violate those rules, they should be held financially liable for any resulting injuries their actions cause. An experienced lawyer at Yates & Wheland could help you fight for the compensation you need to recover from a severe trucking wreck. Call us today for a consultation.

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