Commercial trucks carry large amounts of cargo on the road, increasing their risk of crashing.

Regulations have been made for truckers to ensure they’re operating their vehicle to the best of their ability. Knowing what regulations are required of truckers can help determine liability in an accident.

Learn what regulations truckers must follow from your Houston car accident attorneys.

1.Truck Driver and Driving Requirements

To drive a commercial truck, drivers must carry a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL). All commercial truck drivers must also complete specific training for the vehicle that they are operating.

Additionally, drivers are required to carry medical records in the cab of the truck proving that they are physically able to operate the vehicle.

Federal regulations state that truck drivers are allowed 10 consecutive driving hours following 8 hours off duty. Along with that, drivers are allowed 14 consecutive driving hours following 10 hours off duty. To hold drivers accountable, they are required to keep records of the miles and hours they’ve driven daily.

2.Truck Insurance Requirements

Most interstate commercial trucks require at least $1 million in insurance coverage. In Texas, the minimum liability coverage depends on the type of vehicle and cargo that is being carried. Drivers are also subject to a $1 million liability if they are transporting hazardous wastes, materials, or oils.

Commercial trucking companies must also have cargo insurance for the goods that they are transporting. The amount of coverage depends on the type of cargo and its value.

Most cargo insurance quotes range from $50,000 to $250,000, but some could be higher depending on the cargo.

3.Vehicle Requirements

In order to safely operate, there are vehicle requirements that a commercial truck must pass. Truckers must ensure that their vehicle has the following:

      • A working brake lighting system and reflector tape
      • Mirrors that provide the driver with vision to blind spots
      • Underride protection bars
      • Proper warning stickers
      • The right amount of tires and mud flaps
      • Emergency equipment
      • Restraints that can prevent cargo from moving or falling

These vehicle requirements are put in place to ensure that the truck is operating safely. Failure to meet these vehicle requirements could result in a severe or fatal crash.

If a trucker notices that their vehicle does not meet one or more of the requirements, they should take care of it before driving on the road.

4.Inspection Requirements

Before a driver can head out on the road, they are required to do an inspection of their vehicle. This can help prevent a mechanical failure.

The inspection process consists of:

      • Fluid levels (i.e. oil, coolant, fuel, etc.)
      • Tires
      • Brake pads
      • Trailer suspension
      • Inspection of airlines and electrical cords
      • Check for exposed wires
      • Observation of engine block

Commercial vehicles must pass these inspections each time they go out on the road. The trucking company must also keep a record of this process to hold the driver accountable.

If a trucker forgets or refuses to do an inspection, they can be found negligent.

5.Cargo Requirements

The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is put in place to ensure that drivers do not exceed the weight of the cargo, trailer, cab, driver, passenger, and everything in between.

If a driver exceeds the gross vehicle weight rating, it puts unnecessary stress on the axles and brakes of the truck. This can lead to severe accidents and the injury or death of another. Abiding by the GVWR can keep the trucker, its cargo, and other vehicles on the road safe from harm.

Regulations are put in place to keep truckers accountable and safe while driving on the road. Failure to follow these regulations can hold the trucker and the company they work for as negligent.

If you’ve been injured in a commercial truck accident, reach out to the Houston car accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns today to seek financial relief.

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About Christopher Johns

johnsChristopher Johns co-founded Lapeze & Johns with one thing in mind: civil justice for victims of negligence. Mr. Johns is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried over 50 cases to verdict and judgment throughout Texas, the Gulf Coast, and around the United States with a 98% success rate. His efforts throughout his time at the University of Houston Law Center and as a lawyer have garnered him many accolades, a 10.0 rating from AVVO, and Super Lawyer in Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Litigation every year since 2004. Read more about Christopher Johns here.