Law Offices of Nooney Roberts Hewett & Nowicki :

2022 UPDATES REGARDING TRUCK DRIVING REGULATIONS

Each year, the trucking business transports goods worth billions of dollars throughout the nation. There are several federal rules that truck drivers and trucking businesses are required to abide by since commercial trucking is a significant industry and includes interstate commerce. 

Many transportation restrictions are safety legislation intended to lower the annual number of accidents involving heavy trucks. The following section discusses trucking laws that you should be aware of if you are hurt in a semi-truck accident. 

Hours of Service

Federal Hours-of-Service regulations set a restriction on how long truck drivers are allowed to drive commercial vehicles. For instance, truck drivers are only permitted to drive for 11 hours following 10 straight hours off[1]. Additionally, they are only permitted to drive for 60 hours straight over the course of seven days. 

For truck drivers who only travel within Florida (intrastate), there are also Hours-of-Service laws. According to Florida law[2], the driver may drive 12 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Additionally, the driver may not drive after the 16th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty[3]

The probability of an accident caused by drowsy driving is decreased by state and federal hours of service regulations. Regrettably, truck drivers frequently disregard the law. 

Shippers and trucking businesses sometimes impose unrealistic deadlines. The scheduling of cargo by trucking companies must allow for safe delivery, although many do not follow this rule. 

Alcohol and Drug Testing

Commercial truck drivers and their employers must abide by the FMCSA and DOT's guidelines for drug and alcohol testing. Driving while intoxicated or high is very dangerous when operating a semi-truck. Drug or alcohol use, even in miniscule quantities, can make it difficult for a truck driver to drive safely. 

Less BAC Allowed for Commercial Truck Drivers

The BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) level limit for driving while intoxicated in the United States is 0.08. Because fatalities and severe injuries from heavy truck accidents are more frequent, truck drivers are subject to a lower legal limit. 

If a commercial truck driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.04 or more, federal law5 states that the driver is driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and charges may be brought against them for having any amount of alcohol in their system. 

Pre-Trip Inspections of Trucks and Trailers 

Trucks must undergo a pre-trip examination according to federal regulations. The pre-trip inspection verifies that all the components and systems, including the brake connections, lights, horns, rear-view mirrors, and several other systems, are in excellent operating condition.

If a system malfunctions, not doing a pre-trip inspection might result in a truck accident. 

State Traffic Laws

Truck drivers are required to be familiar with and adhere to state traffic regulations. As a result, a truck driver traveling from Florida to Maine must be aware of and obedient to all applicable traffic rules in each state. 

How Does Florida’s Trucking Regulations Affect My Truck Accident Case?

Among the various transportation rules, the safety standards mentioned above are only a handful. It is the duty of trucking businesses and truck drivers to be aware of and adhere to all laws. 

There are several causes of truck accidents, including infractions of safety rules. When a truck driver or trucking company violates a trucking safety requirement, negligence is frequently at play. The infraction may be used to demonstrate the party's negligence. 

For instance, if truck drivers exceeded the legal BAC limit for commercial truck drivers while driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they might be found responsible for causing a truck accident. If they were operating a vehicle while fatigued because they went over the allowed number of hours on the job, they could also be held responsible for the collision.

Additionally, they may have lied in their logbooks to hide the fact that they were driving for an excessive amount of time without pauses or rest. 

5 49 C.F.R. § 383.5

By pressuring drivers to work more hours than allowed or by refusing to administer statutory drug and alcohol tests, trucking businesses may be found negligent.

If the businesses do not effectively educate their drivers or carry out rigorous background checks, they may be considered negligent. In a truck accident lawsuit, businesses who fail to maintain their vehicles and machinery may also be held accountable. 

Truck Accident Claims

Cases involving trucks are challenging. Complex federal and state trucking laws are involved. Multiple parties are typically involved in the incidents, therefore various insurance companies are attempting to limit their liability. 

Trucking businesses and their insurance providers might intimidate claimants who do so without legal representation. A skilled Florida truck accident attorney can level the playing field. 

A truck accident attorney has the tools and expertise to investigate the collision. The attorney knows how to handle the strategies used by insurance companies and works with expert witnesses to obtain proof of responsibility and liability. 

Without a lawyer, a person could struggle to investigate a truck accident and submit a claim. If they are unable to employ professionals and are out of work recovering from the truck accident, it is more difficult. 

Call Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki Today! 

The attorneys at Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki have decades of combined experience fighting for individuals like you. As a passionate group of lawyers, we are dedicated to fighting for the compensation you deserve.

Our expert legal team can help you along this complicated and intricate process. 

Call us at (904) 398-1992 or fill out a quick form to schedule a free initial consultation with our aggressive negligent security attorneys! ¡Hablamos español!

We serve clients throughout Florida, including, but not limited to, those in the following localities: Duval County including Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, and Jacksonville Beach; Hillsborough County including Brandon, Riverview, and Tampa; Leon County including Tallahassee and Woodville; Orange County including Ocoee, Orlando, and Winter Garden; St. Lucie County including Fort Pierce, Lakewood Park, and Port St. Lucie; and Walton County including DeFuniak Springs, Miramar Beach, and Santa Rosa Beach.


[1] Summary of Hours of Service Regulations, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, (last updated, Mar. 28, 2022), https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hoursservice/summary-hours-service-regulations.

[2] Florida Hours of Service Rules, FLORIDA HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES.

https://www.flhsmv.gov/florida-highway-patrol/commercial-vehicle-enforcement/safety-enforcement/florida-hoursof-service-rules/ (last visited Jul. 18, 2022).

[3] Id.

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