Ohio Truck Accident Lawyers Explain Federal Driver Regulations
Our lawyers help apply the appropriate statutes to your accident claim
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA, is a U.S. Department of Transportation agency that was created specifically to help reduced the high number of accidents involving commercial vehicles. It creates safety regulations based on the accident data it collects and the research it does with other federal, state, and local agencies. As part of its regulations, it has provisions that set standards and rules about how long a driver can operate a vehicle and how often he or she needs to take a break. If a driver breaks one of these laws while operating a commercial vehicle, he or she could be found liable for damages caused.
At Crandall & Pera Law, our Ohio truck accidents lawyers understand why driving safely is a priority for the FMCSA. We have worked with too many investigative teams to investigate deaths and injuries that could have been stopped if only the driver have obeyed these federal rules. Our firm has obtained substantial, sometimes multi-million dollar, jury verdicts and settlements in personal injury cases including commercial truck accidents. We hold drivers and companies accountable for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages when drivers fail to comply with these common-sense rules.
The FMCSA driver rules
Our Ohio federal truck driver law attorneys understand that all drivers of commercial trucks are required to comply with federal laws including the laws on the books. Commercial truck drivers are required to keep a log book or an electronic record of their work hours, the number of hours they drive, and the number of hours they rest. The book or record is one key to making sure drivers get proper rest so they can drive while alert.
The key provisions of the FMCSA laws regulate the following:
- On-shift hours: Currently, drivers cannot driver more than 11 hours if they were off for at least 10. Work includes more than just driving. It includes loading and unloading the shipment, doing the paperwork, getting the vehicle ready, and other common shipping tasks.
- Sleep time. Drivers should sleep for at least eight hours during every 24-hour day.
- Weekly driving hour limit. Drivers cannot drive over 60 hours in a consecutive 7-day period or 70 hours in a consecutive 8 day period.
- Break times. Drivers should take a 30-minute break during their first shift. Comparable breaks for other shifts are either mandated or advised.
The company responsible for the driver must make sure the driver complies with these rules. If it does not, the company can be held responsible if the driver gets into a commercial truck accident.
Compliance with the rules does is not an automatic defense. If the company knew the driver was unfit to drive, for example through a conversation with the driver, the company can also be held liable for a crash.
Drivers and companies who are in flagrant violation of the FMCSA rules can be sued for punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer so the misconduct does not reoccur. Additionally, drivers and truck companies can be subject to substantial penalties.
Strong advocacy from Ohio lawyers when drivers violate federal laws
The U.S. government helps to make sure driving is safe for everyone. Their agencies are constantly trying to improve the rules for driving commercial vehicles on federal, state and local roads. At the Crandall & Pera Law our Ohio truck accident attorneys understand the regulations of the FMCSA and other relevant agencies that are designed specifically to make sure drivers are properly rested. We hold wrongdoers accountable in federal and state courts. You can meet with a highly skilled Ohio attorney by calling 877-686-8879 or completing our contact form. We offer free initial consultations.