How Federal Regulations Impact Tennessee Truck Drivers and Truck Companies
Why violations of the law are important to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Seymour, and Sevierville truck accident victims
Several federal governmental agencies have laws that are specifically aimed at reducing truck accidents nationwide. These laws were enacted to ensure trucks are safe and drivers are qualified and properly trained. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) monitors traffic issues across the country. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacts and updates laws on truck driving safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also has rules and regulations on traffic safety and vehicle recalls.
When a trucking company fails to meet these regulations, the consequences can be disastrous. The Sevierville truck accident attorneys at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC understand these federal regulations. Our legal team constantly works to keep current with changes that can affect the driving public. In many truck accident cases, we begin our investigation of the cause of the accident by examining if the truck companies and drivers obeyed these laws. We seek to hold the trucking industry accountable when they ignore the laws that are designed to protect all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Relevant FMCSA rules for truckers
The FMCSA rules are specifically designed to make sure truck drivers get the proper rest during their journey. Many truckers drive cross-country for days or even weeks at a time. There is the strong temptation to drive as many hours as possible so the driver can get more assignments and the trucking company can make more money by delivering goods ahead of schedule. These incentives must take a back seat to public safety. Some of the many FMCSA rules our Sevierville federal truck regulations lawyers review monitor the following activities:
- Weekly limits. Truck drivers cannot driver more than 60 hours a week, or 70 hours in an eight day stretch.
- Shift-hour obligations. Truck drivers cannot work more than 11 hours straight unless they have rested for at least 10 hours. Driving time also includes the time it takes to load and unpack the cargo and inspect the truck.
- Sleep time. Drivers should sleep eight hours each day.
- Keeping accurate records. Truck drivers and truck companies should keep a written or electronic log of the hours a driver operates the truck, the hours the driver rests, and the hours the truck is being used.
- Rest periods. In addition to sleep requirements, the FMSCA requires that drivers rest for 30 minutes during each shift.
Drivers need to keep track of their own time. Additionally, the trucking company that hires the driver also needs to make sure their drivers are obeying the FMCSA regulations.
Understanding the NHTSA trucking rules
The NHTSA is responsible for writing the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. These regulations oversee the product safety of vehicles, including trucks and truck parts. The laws detail requirements for design, manufacture, performance, and longevity. When Tennessee residents suffer injury or death due to a defective part, our Sevierville truck accident lawyers work to determine if the truck and truck parts met these NHTSA standards.
The NHTSA regulations are divided into three categories:
- Crash-avoidance regulations
- The ability of the vehicle to protect the occupants in a crash
- Post-crash survivability
The NHTSA has the authority to recall vehicles when the whole truck or truck parts are defective.
Contact a skilled truck accident lawyer today for experienced advocacy in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Seymour, and Sevierville
The FMCSA rules that regulate driving performance and the NHTSA regulations that monitor truck performance are just the starting point. The Sevierville truck accident lawyers at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC use violations of these laws to help prove fault after a crash. Please call us at 865-428-8780 or complete our contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. We represent victims and their families in Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Seymour, and throughout Tennessee.