Truck Company Laws and Drivers Regulations


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Welcome to our page with important and helpful rules for the road. There are many regulations for truckers nationwide and in California. This page is written by the award-winning and aggressive Ehline Law Firm. If you have additional questions, call us and leave a message. We promptly return calls.

Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC logo.
Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC logo.

Table of Contents:


Los Angeles Law FirmWhat Does Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations Say?

First of all, you already know that trucks that are 18-wheelers or big rigs are hefty and large. These vehicles cause a large percentage of motor vehicle accidents. Also, the United States roadways remain filled with these steel beasts.

Due to their size and weight, making them more likely than cars to cause fatalities, rules were promulgated at the state and federal levels.  Also, established commercial licensing in Title 49 is mandatory.

What Are Some Ways These Wrecks Happen?

There are numerous reasons why trucking accidents happen. And an experienced legal expert will tell you the number one reason is fatigue. According to the NHTSA, overworked and tired truckers lead in auto accidents. And this is despite strong regulation in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

So these are most of the regulations that govern commercial motor operators. And these rules also include the Hours of Service. So this is the amount of time that the employee is permitted to drive daily. Plus, it regulates the amount of rest they must have.

  • The operator must keep a log of their day.
  • They must log the hours they have driven, and
  • Hours of sleep.
  • They are even required to log if they have been negligent in driving.

What About State Laws?

Many states have their sleep requirements. But a general rule exists for California employees. Mostly, for every 12 hours of driving, you must take 10 hours of rest. (Read more.)


What Does the FMCSA Say About Driving Logs?

When an accident occurs, one of the best forms of evidence is the driving log. The other factors that can provide evidence are the employee’s overall safety record.

So this will include:

  • Training
  • Cell phone records
  • Witness statements

So this would record obvious negligence such as using a cell phone or texting. After all, this contributes to motor vehicle accidents, and we all know this.

This risk has not gone unnoticed; the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admin (FMCSA) proposed legislation that would ban handheld cell phones while driving in all states. There are already many states with laws prohibiting handheld cellphones by drivers.

California is one of the states that outlaws the use of phones in your hand while driving. And they also include 18-wheelers in this ban. When the law went into effect in 2008, drivers that held a Class A or B license did not need to comply.

So back then, the cell phone law was not applicable in states other than those that had their own regulations. The FMCSA outlines the training requirements for drivers.


Is Evidence of Driver Training Key in Many Cases?

Evidence of operator training is prime for a trucker accident case. Also, included are:

  • Requirements for drug and alcohol testing for employees
  • Their driving practices

Furthermore, a mandate exists for:

  • Maintenance of components or accessories
  • Regulations for the transport of toxic or hazardous materials.

What About The Self Driving Truck Dilemma?

Google Meet your Competition
Will this be self-driving soon?

Tesla is in all of the headlines lately. And for more than just launching a car on the way to Mars. Elon Musk and his company want to take over the car industry with bold ideas. Tesla's top experiment is self-driving cars. As of today, it is unclear whether the company can pull it off.

However, what is more, explicit are the inherent risks of the project. Self-driving cars are among the riskiest things going technologically. Google the term self-driving car, and the results show up with "accident" as one of the top ones. USA Today reported on the fact that new self-driving trucks will likely have the ability to choose who would die in an accident.

Human nature is fallible enough. Imagine putting the life of your family in the hands of several circuits. What is less obvious is the companies that will adopt the technology. One Tesla semi comes with a 300-mile range for $150k and another with a 500-mile range for $180,000. Ouch. Tesla claims it will start production in 2019, and several prominent corporations have them on pre-order, including Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Sysco, UPS, and even Wal Mart.

A Risk Foreseen With Big Rigs?

Each of the companies above is making a bet on the tech that isn't out of its infancy. Worse yet, they are a danger as presently constructed. Self-driving car tech is likely decades away from fluency, not just a year or so. Furthermore, this overconfidence is likely a fatal flaw in road safety and these companies' plans.

However, poor ideas haven't stopped people before. But it appears that they will proceed. The numbers above represent just a fraction of these companies' overall fleets. However, they may be a trend that is difficult to reverse once started. Once these vehicles are on the road, they could represent a significant shift away from the safety of motor vehicle travel we've grown accustomed to and toward something much less predictable.

Why Not Leave It To The Local Trucking Accident Attorney?

Any of these regulations or negligence of them can be a factor in the injury or death in a crash. Michael P. Ehline, Esq. will investigate. That way, he can determine if any of the regulations have not gotten followed.

Then we can hold whoever is at fault responsible.  And then you can recover the compensation that you deserve. If you would like more information, please feel free to call (213) 596-9642.  Or click here to visit our personal injury home page.