What are the Most Important Federal Truck Safety Laws?
Written by Greg on September 1, 2019
As drivers, we share the road with many other vehicles, including commercial trucks. Big rigs are a common sight around Houston, but traveling near them can be challenging and dangerous. There are federal truck safety laws in place to keep the roads safe for all traffic and prevent big rig wrecks.
Truck drivers are required to take breaks and rest periods between trips. Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem and is responsible for numerous accidents on the roads. Drivers must adhere to the hours of service regulations to ensure that they do not drive while they are tired. Generally, truck drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours and cannot work more than 14 hours in a day. Additionally, drivers must have at least 10 continuous hours off before they can take another driving shift.
Federal laws limit the weight of trucks that drive on Interstate highways. In general, commercial trucks must weigh no more than 80,000 pounds. There are some exceptions such as double trailers. However, trucks must have adequate permits to drive based on their weight. Weighing stations are accessible to ensure that trucks stay within the legal limits. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) also has size and weight limitations in place for commercial vehicles. These limits are in place to protect infrastructure and to make driving safer for everyone on the road.
Shifting cargo can cause commercial vehicles to become impossible to control and can lead to accidents. Additionally, when cargo is not secured properly, it can fall from the truck causing hazards to other drivers on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), has cargo securement rules in place to ensure safety. All motor carriers must adhere to the rules when they place and secure their loads. The rules were created by experts who evaluated the various types and sizes of loads for maximum safety placement. Proper tie-downs are required for uncovered loads as well as other requirements for all trucks.
Commercial trucks must comply with regular inspections. Truck owners and companies must provide regular maintenance records and must adhere to inspection schedules. Poor truck maintenance leads to mechanical breakdowns that can cause crashes. For instance, trucking companies must inspect and maintain the brakes on their vehicles. Poorly maintained brakes can lead to the inability to stop to avoid an accident. Improper brakes, tires, and lights are among the leading factors that contribute to truck crashes.
If you were hurt in a truck crash, you need help from an experienced Houston truck accident attorney. Your lawyer will immediately work to gather evidence in your case such as driver records, maintenance and repair logs, and more. You need to get this information as soon as possible before it might get lost. Truck accidents are often due to driver errors or to mechanical failures that could have been prevented.
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If you were injured in a truck accident, do not delay. Call our knowledgeable legal team at 281-587-1111 today to get help on your trucking accident injury case.