Tuesday, Dec 6, 2022

There are laws at both the state and federal level that provide strict guidelines for trucking companies and their drivers to follow when navigating roads and highways across the United States. Trucks weigh approximately 40 times more than a passenger vehicle and while laws are in place, they won’t necessarily protect motorists from colliding with a truck.

There are two agencies responsible for setting the rules, regulations and requirements for interstate surface transportation at the federal and state level. The agencies are:  the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Surface Transportation Board. Trucking agencies have very strict regulations to comply with and a knowledgeable Pennsylvania tractor trailer accident attorney will be familiar with all aspects of these complicated laws.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations have several sections that can be used to navigate the details of any collision involving a truck.

Important Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations:

Part 382 – Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing – the purpose of this regulation is to prevent accidents and injuries resulting from the misuse of alcohol or use of controlled substances by drivers of commercial motor vehicles.

Part 383 – Commercial Driver’s License Standards – the purpose of this regulation is to reduce or prevent truck or bus accidents, fatalities, and injuries by requiring drivers to have a single commercial motor vehicle driver’s license and by disqualifying drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles in an unsafe manner.

Part 387 – Minimum Levels of Financial Responsibility for Motor Carriers – this section details the minimum levels of financial responsibility to be maintained by motor carriers of property operating vehicles in interstate, foreign, or intrastate commerce. This regulation ensures that motor carriers maintain appropriate levels of financial responsibility in case there is an accident and a “settlement value” must be established in the event of injury or death.

Part 399 – Employee Safety and Health Standards – the purpose of this regulation is to determine if the trucking company followed all safety laws and took all health precautions to keep the highways and roads safe while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

There are many additional Federal Regulations, including:

  • Transportation of Migrant Workers
  • Hours of Operation for Truck Drivers
  • Truck Maintenance/Inspection/Repair
  • Transportation of Hazardous Material
  • Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation
  • Size, Weight, Length and Width of Trucks
  • Truck Routes
  • Passenger Carrier Regulations
  • Compliance with all State Laws and Regulations affecting interstate motor carrier operations

Remember, these are very complicated areas and state to state regulations can be extremely complex and often overlap with federal regulations. The truck drivers are required to call their insurance company and wait at the scene of the accident for the team of “investigators” to arrive. If asked for any reason to sign anything from an insurance adjuster, do not do so until you have consulted with an attorney.

If you have other questions pertaining to truck laws and regulations in Pennsylvania, please refer to PA Law Blogs, a valuable legal resource managed by knowledgeable truck accident attorneys in Pennsylvania.