Chicago Lawyers Explain What Federal Regulations Govern Truck Drivers in Illinois
Holding commercial truck drivers responsible for not following the laws of the road
Most federal highway driving laws pertain to drivers of commercial vehicles and to the trucking industry because operators of these vehicles regularly drive across state lines. All drivers of any vehicle are required to obey the traffic laws of the state they are in and the federal laws that apply to them. The agency that oversees most of the federal regulations is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
If you were injured in a trucking accident, a bus accident, or any other type of accident, the Chicago truck accident lawyers at Gainsberg Law will examine whether any federal laws were broken. We work with federal investigators and authorities, as well as local officials, to help determine who is responsible. If federal laws were broken, we may file your claim in federal court instead of state court. We do fight to use the violation as proof of negligence. If the breach of the federal rule was deliberate, we also bring claims for punitive damages.
Common federal safety rules
Some of the laws that all commercial vehicle owners, trucking companies, shippers, and others who operate or maintain vehicles that drive across state lines or on federal highways must know are:
- Commercial driving laws. All drivers of semi-trailers, buses, vehicles that carry hazardous waste, and any vehicle defined as commercial are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license. Companies who hire drivers to transport cargo or people must make sure their drivers have a current commercial driver’s license. Commercial drivers need to pass a physical examination and a special test to prove they have the ability to operate these larger vehicles.
- Drunk driving. For most drivers, if the operator’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or more, there is a presumption that they were driving under the influence. The standard for drivers with a commercial driver’s license is higher. Commercial drivers are presumed intoxicated if their BAC is .04 or higher. Truck drivers must wait at least four hours after consuming any alcohol before they drive again. Employers are allowed to conduct random sobriety tests to determine the driver’s condition.
- Requirement for regular inspections. Trucking companies must routinely inspect their vehicles and conduct all necessary repairs before the truck can be placed on the road. The inspections include the engine and all parts necessary to make the truck run. Required inspections also include safety items such as mirrors, lights, brakes, reflectors, and windshields.
- Hours of operation. Most commercial drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours in a day and cannot work and drive more than 14 hours in a day. Drivers who reach these limits must stop driving/working for 10 continuous hours before they can drive again.
- Weight limits. Federal law regulates the gross vehicle weight of trucks. The weight limits are meant to protect the roads, prevent accidents, and protect the cargo from spilling.
Depending on the circumstances, other state or federal laws may have been breached by the driver. While some reasons, such as speeding, are obvious, many times defendants can be held liable because they failed to comply with state and federal regulations. Those regulations are designed to keep you safe. Violating them is a strong indication that the driver or company directing the driver failed in their duty to protect you. You want an experienced Chicago attorney on your side to help you, if you were hurt because of a defective part or an act of negligence.
Get help from a skilled Chicago truck accident attorney now
Our Chicago truck accident attorneys research every angle to determine who caused an accident and why. We hold drivers and negligent companies liable for disregarding the laws. To review your case with a compassionate professional attorney, please call Gainsberg Law for an appointment. You can reach us at 312-600-9585 or complete our contact form to make an appointment.