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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What Laws Govern Semi-Trucks?

In addition to complying with all state traffic laws, semi-trucks are also heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations are designed to promote highway safety and reduce accidents. While this list is not exhaustive, here are some of the major regulations that semi-trucks and drivers must comply with.

Licensing: Unlike ordinary cars which require a simple state-issued drivers’ license that you can typically get at 16 or 17 years of age, semi truck drivers are required to have a commercial drivers license (CDL). Obtaining a CDL requires a driver to undergo a written and performance examination. In order to pass, they must be familiar with applicable regulations, safety and operating procedures, and know the effects of fatigue and impaired visibility. A driver must also report to his employer all traffic-related offenses (except parking tickets).

Insurance: While Kentucky allows automobile drivers to have minimum liability policy limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence, semi-truck companies are required to have commercial liability policies of up to $1,000,000 per occurrence. This is a tremendous help to injured persons because the severity of injuries in semi-truck wrecks are sometimes far greater than in an automobile accident.

Drugs and Alcohol: The FMCSA prohibits any person under the influence of narcotics or alcohol from driving. Unlike state limits of 0.08 BAC for intoxication, a semi-truck driver is intoxicated if his BAC is 0.04. Employers are also required to have procedures for testing drivers and keep records of tests done.

Mandatory Rest: Semi truck drivers may not drive more than 60 hours in a seven day period and they are required to log their hours on and off duty.

Maintenance: Semi truck drivers and employers are required to regularly inspect and maintain the truck and must keep records of these periodic inspections. Semi trucks may not operate with any condition that is likely to cause an accident or breakdown. At the end of each day, the driver must fill out a report on the truck’s mechanical condition and all defects must be reported. If the report states that a safety defect exists on the truck, then the truck must be repaired before it can be driven again.

These are just a handful of the many regulations that semi-trucks must comply with. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a semi-truck accident, call Warren and Barren County, Kentucky semi accident attorney Flora Templeton Stuart at (888) 782-9090. Flora and her staff have decades of experience representing clients injured in semi-truck wrecks, auto accidents, motorcycle wrecks, pedestrian accidents, and other accidents resulting in personal injury. We have offices in Glasgow and Bowling Green, Kentucky to better serve our injured clients. Contact us for more information.

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