State and Federal Trucking Regulations
Responsibility for trucking regulations gets split between the Texas and U.S. governments. The U.S. government covers the aspects of trucking that could affect interstate commerce so that trucking companies have a uniform set of laws as they carry goods from state to state.
Texas has the authority to regulate many of the safety aspects of trucking. It also determines the rules that govern trucks that move only within Texas without crossing state or international borders.
Learn about state and federal trucking regulations and how safety violations might affect a truck accident case. If you have questions or need assistance after a collision with a truck in Fort Worth, TX, contact or call Stephens Law today at (817) 420-7000 for a free consultation.
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How Stephens Law Can Help After a Truck Accident in Fort Worth, Texas
Stephens Law focuses on accident cases. Our firm’s lead attorney has over two decades of experience fighting on behalf of accident victims throughout Texas. In that time, our firm has recovered over $100 million in injury compensation for our clients.
When you hire Stephens Law, you can expect our Fort Worth truck accident lawyers to:
- Investigate the accident and determine all parties who could be liable for your injuries
- Gather evidence, including truck logs, electronic logging device data, accident reports, medical records, and expert testimony to build your case
- Consult leading accident reconstructionists and trucking experts to value and prove your claim
- Negotiate with insurance companies, trucking companies, and other parties on your behalf
- Take your case to trial if the opposing parties refuse to negotiate for a fair amount
Contact Stephens Law for a free consultation to discuss your truck accident and the parties that might bear liability for your injuries.
How Common Are Violations of State and Federal Trucking Regulations?
The U.S. government regulates many aspects of the trucking industry through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Some aspects covered by trucking regulations include:
- Driver qualifications and monitoring
- Hours of service and enforcement
- Truck and trailer maintenance
- Company equipment and load inspections
- Load weight limits
Texas regulates intrastate trucking that remains entirely within the state.
Some aspects of trucking covered by Texas law include:
- Weight limits for local roads and bridges
- Oversize load permits
- Commercial driver’s license (CDL) issuance
- Traffic laws, like speed limits
Violations of these regulations happen frequently. The FMCSA conducts random and scheduled audits of trucking companies. In 2021, only 5.5% of trucking companies passed a federal audit with no violations. The remaining 94.5% of trucking companies averaged six violations each.
Texas does not release statistical data about trucking violations. But it does maintain an online database of complaints and license revocations.
Overview of Trucking Regulation Violations
Trucking regulations are primarily directed to safety. When a trucking company has too many violations or has a record of serious violations, the Texas or U.S. government can revoke its operating license.
How Do Trucking Regulation Violations Happen?
Violations happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- Careless monitoring
- Inadequate procedures
- Deceit by drivers or trucking companies
- Lack of resources to remedy violations
- Willful blindness to clear violations
Since trucking regulations were designed to prevent unsafe conditions, many violations are found during audits after a complaint or an accident. Whistleblowers also play a role in identifying unsafe operating or working conditions for drivers and loaders.
What Conditions Cause a Trucking Regulation Violation?
Trucking regulations cover many aspects of a trucking company’s operations. But the most common violations, according to the FMCSA, cover some of the most dangerous practices, including:
Drivers with Suspended or Revoked CDLs
Trucking companies must verify their drivers’ license statuses before hiring them. But many lack a system to monitor them on an ongoing basis. If a driver’s license gets suspended or revoked, a driver may continue driving by simply keeping the suspension or revocation from the company.
No Drug or Alcohol Testing Program
Trucking companies must test drivers for drugs or alcohol at several points in their employment, including:
- Before hiring them
- After an accident
- Upon reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol use
If a company fails to implement a testing program or has a testing program but fails to keep accurate records of the results, the FMCSA can issue a violation.
Exceeding the Hours of Service Rules
Federal trucking regulations limit the number of hours truckers can drive. The hours of service limitation prevents fatigued driving. Many drivers and their employers will keep inaccurate records, so it appears that they have complied when they have actually driven longer than allowed.
What Injuries Result from Trucking Regulation Violations?
When trucking companies violate the regulations, truck accidents can happen. And catastrophic injuries can result when a 40-ton semi-truck and trailer hit a passenger vehicle.
Liability for Truck Accidents Resulting from Trucking Regulation Violations
When Stephens Law takes on a truck accident case, our Fort Worth truck accident attorneys will identify all parties that could bear liability, including:
- Truck driver
- Trucking company
- Shipping company
- Loading company
- Maintenance and repair shops
- Truck and trailer manufacturers
The FMCSA found that 87% of accidents arise from driver errors. The top three causes, alcohol use, speeding, and driver fatigue, constitute violations of state or federal laws.
When a driver causes an accident while violating Texas laws or federal regulations, the trucking company will usually bear liability for the damages caused. Under the doctrine of vicarious liability, an employer has liability for the acts of its employee.
Trucking companies also bear liability for their violations. Thus, if an accident results from a trucking company’s failure to comply with maintenance regulations, the company will bear liability for the damage and injuries caused.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Fort Worth Truck Accident Lawyers After a Violation of State and Federal Trucking Regulations
If your truck accident resulted from a violation of state or federal trucking regulations, you might be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact Stephens Law for a free consultation to discuss your truck accident.