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Federal and State Laws Regulate Commercial Trucks

An accident with a commercial truck can be life changing. An accident with a truck could result in spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury or wrongful death. The process of gaining compensation for these injuries is influenced by a complex set of administrative regulations, state and federal law. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry. FMCSA regulations attempt to “reduce crashes, injuries and accident fatalities” caused by truck drivers. Similarly, Florida lawmakers have designed laws to help regulate truck drivers. Both Florida state law and FMCSA regulations are enforced by the Florida Highway Patrol Office of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.

Truck accidents have many causes, which range from driver error, driver distraction, equipment failure or failure to properly maintain equipment. The state and federal regulations discussed below seek to decrease accidents and improve public safety:

  • Hours of Service Rules

Federal law defines hours of service for truck drivers and limits the number of consecutive hours a truck driver can work without rest. Drivers carrying cargo are limited to a 10-hour driving day and drivers carrying passengers are limited to an 11-hour driving day. Generally, drivers may not work more than 60/70 hour per week in 7/8 consecutive days.

  • Distracted Driving Prohibited

Federal regulations have limited the use of cell phone for truck drivers. Under the federal rules, truckers cannot use mobile devices to text. The restriction does not prevent the use of mobile devices. Drivers are allowed to use earpieces, voice activation and one-button features to make phone calls. Similarly, Florida has banned texting while driving but permits the use of mobile devices while driving.

  • Following and Passing

Under Florida law, it is illegal for all drivers, including truck drivers, to follow within 300 feet of another vehicle in city limits.

  • Alcohol and Drug Testing

Truck drivers are not allowed to drive while intoxicated. Under federal law, it is illegal for a truck driver to drink alcohol for four hours before driving. Additionally, when a truck is in an accident, a driver may not consume alcohol for eight hours following the accident or when the driver takes a blood alcohol test. Additionally, federal regulations require that drivers obtain a negative drug test results before they are hired.

Truck Accident Victims Deserve Compensation

Truck accidents have many causes and it is important to quickly assess whether a driver was fully complying with relevant rules and regulations.

If you have been injured in an accident with a truck in Miami, you will need an experienced truck accident attorney who understands the laws that regulate truck drivers. The truck injury lawyers at our office will use their experience to help you seek full and fair compensation for your losses. Please call Alan Goldfarb, P.A. at (305) 371-3111 or call toll-free at (866)936-9761 to discuss your specific case.

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