In the U.S., commercial truck driving is a large industry, affecting nearly every other major business in the country. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), over 12.5 million trucks and large buses were registered in 2016. This translates to nearly 22,000 commercial truck drivers regularly traveling Beaver State roadways. With so many massive vehicles sharing the road with cars and motorcycles, trucking safety is a serious issue. Because of their size, an accident with a truck can cause tragic consequences.
Truck accident cases often differ from car accident cases because trucks must comply with many additional state and federal regulations. Thus, understanding how truck safety regulations affect your case can also assist you when an accident does occur.
If you’ve been in a truck accident, you may wonder, “What trucking safety regulations affect my case?” Below, the D’Amore Law Group explains some Oregon truck safety regulations and how they may impact your truck accident case. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us today.
What Are the Most Common Laws and Regulations Affecting an Oregon Truck Accident Case?
When you’re in a truck accident, one of your questions may be, “What trucking safety regulations affect my case?” Numerous federal and state regulations impact trucking safety in Oregon. Below are some trucking industry-specific laws and regulations that may influence your truck accident case.
Truck Driving Hiring and Training Procedures
- Have a commercial driver’s license;
- Be in good health;
- Be physically capable of controlling the commercial motor vehicle they drive;
- Be able to pass a criminal background and driving record check;
- Understand U.S. highway traffic signs and signals in the English language;
- Be able to determine whether the cargo they transport is correctly loaded, distributed, and secured in or on their truck; and
- Be able to secure the cargo in or on their vehicle properly.
These are just a few of the qualifications required for Oregon truck drivers.
Sometimes, however, trucking companies cut corners on training to save money and get drivers on the road faster. Because of this, not all truck drivers meet the legal qualifications for driving commercial motor vehicles. This increases the risk of accidents. If a truck driver wasn’t properly trained, your attorney might use this to establish the truck driver’s or truck company’s liability in your accident.
Hours of Service Rules
Fatigued truck drivers are a danger on the road. Thus, Oregon and the FMCSA have hours of service rules (HOS) setting forth the maximum time drivers can be on duty, including driving time. HOS also specify the number and length of rest periods drivers must take to help ensure they stay awake and alert.
For example, interstate property-carrying commercial vehicle drivers are:
- Limited to driving 11 hours in a 14-hour workday after ten consecutive hours off duty;
- Prohibited from driving after being on duty 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days if the motor carrier operates trucks seven days a week; and
- Able to restart the 60 or 70-hour period if they take 34 consecutive hours off duty.
These regulations help to ensure that long-haul or interstate drivers are well-rested and less likely to cause an accident.
Oregon truck drivers who haul property solely within the state may drive more hours than under the federal restrictions as follows:
- Drivers are allowed 12 hours of driving instead of 11 hours;
- Drivers may not drive after the 16th hour of coming on duty instead of the 14th hour;
- Drivers may not drive after being on duty 70 hours in seven days or 80 hours in eight days if the motor carrier operates a truck seven days a week; and
- A driver may restart the 70-hour or 80-hour period if they take 34 consecutive hours off duty.
An attorney may use a driver’s violation of HOS rules as evidence that driver fatigue caused an accident.
Fleet Maintenance Requirements
All trucking companies are legally responsible for properly inspecting, repairing, and maintaining their vehicles. This includes the general inspection, repair, and maintenance of all mechanical parts on the truck. Plus, they must keep detailed records of how and when these duties were performed for every vehicle. Failure to do so can affect the safe transport of cargo or passengers. Worse, it can cause an equipment breakdown while in motion, leading to a fatal truck accident.
Drug and Alcohol Tests
In Oregon, it is illegal for a commercial truck driver to drive with a blood alcohol concentration level above 0.02 percent. Trucking carriers must certify that they meet specific drug and alcohol testing standards, including random drug and alcohol testing. The penalty for a company’s failure to maintain a testing program is $1,000 per violation. If a commercial driver has a positive drug test, the company must include this information in the driver’s employment driving record.
Federal law also has additional testing requirements. Truck carriers must require all drivers to participate in random annual alcohol and controlled substance testing. Plus, an employer must test a driver if they have reason to believe the driver is under the influence.
A company’s failure to administer drug and alcohol tests can affect a truck accident case. For example, suppose the truck driver who caused your accident was intoxicated. In that case, the company could be liable because it failed to administer drug and alcohol tests that would have gotten the driver off the road.
Cargo Load Securement Rules
Federal law provides general requirements for securing cargo. Plus, the law has specific requirements for securing different types of cargo. These rules are critical as lost cargo causes numerous trucking accidents every year. If a trucker, loading company, or trucking company fails to follow these rules, cargo may fall off a truck, causing an accident.
D’Amore Law Group Can Help with Your Truck Accident Case
D’Amore Law Group has represented personal injury and trucking accident clients since 1994. Tom D’Amore, of D’Amore Law Group, is the only board certified truck accident attorney residing in Oregon. We’ve won numerous awards, including a preeminent lawyer rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which signifies that we’re top lawyers in professional excellence. If you are looking for legal advocates known for compassion, dedication, and skill, D’Amore Law Group can be your champion in need. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.