Ohio 18-Wheeler Accident Attorneys Serving Clients Nationwide
When 18-wheelers cause collisions, the damages are often serious and deadly with the majority of these claims involving truck drivers smashing someone or something in the rear. Sleepiness and inattentiveness are two of the biggest reasons why wrecks happen.
What are the safety rules for truckers and their employers? Here are some important rules of the road that they must obey.
Truckers’ Safety Rules of the Road
CDL Driving Regulations
To drive professionally, commercial semi truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license. This is called a “CDL.” To obtain a CDL, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires a driver to pass a series of tests. The laws vary from state to state, but all must abide by federal DOT laws and regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration has rules known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Below are many of the rules of the road that are important to know in trucking litigation. The rules include how much insurance the company must purchase and indicate no texting, for instance.
Furthermore, the regulations require that the drivers are proficient and be tested in a number of actions including:
- Maneuvering, parking, backing up, etc.
- Maintenance of engines, lights, tires, etc.
- Pre-trip inspection routine mastery
- Hazardous materials containment regulations and procedure
Also, a driver must pass a drug test and a physical exam.
Log Books Regulations
Semi truck drivers must keep a logbook and record as follows when they are on the roads:
- The number of hours they drive each day and the amount of time they rest. For instance, a driver can drive a maximum of 11 continuous hours and then must rest for 10 hours. Driving 60 hours or more in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period is illegal. They must take off 34 consecutive hours after this in order to restart the countdown on a new 7 or 8 day driving period.
- The date they picked up their cargo “load”
- The weight of the truck rig before and after cargo is onboard
- The destination
- The time off, the time sleeping in the berth
- The date of delivery
- Total miles driven
- Which carrier they have
Finding Evidence of Regulation Violations
We must prove negligence or carelessness in a semi truck collision in order to win the case. Sometimes semi truck drivers knowingly, willfully, and recklessly violate the law. These flagrant violations can even be criminal. If we prove willfulness, recklessness, or criminality, sometimes we can obtain punitive damages in addition to actual damages. Actual damages include pain and suffering, lost income and wages, and medical bills, for instance.
It is our experience that when we represent the victim in a semi collision case, we must file suit against the driver and his or her employer very early on. Once we file a lawsuit, we then subpoena all the information noted above, and much more. We also gain access to the truck driver’s actual logbook. In it, we may find evidence of falsification or embellishment of entries.
We also take depositions (recorded statements with a court reporter) from the driver, his boss, and coworkers, among many others. This is all invaluable information to prosecuting the case.