Truck Driver Regulations in Florida
Regulations for Truckers
Because of the risks associated with trucking accidents, lawmakers have enacted an extensive body of federal and state regulations.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Regulations governing how long a driver can be on the road, also known as “hours-of-service” (HOS) rules, are intended to prevent accidents due to driver fatigue.
Legislators revised The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) in March of 2010, with the intention of allowing drivers more rest.
Currently, a commercial truck driver may travel a maximum of 11 hours after he or she has taken 10 consecutive hours off duty. Driving beyond the 14th hour, or after 60 to 70 hours in 7 or 8 consecutive days is prohibited and a driver must take 34 or more consecutive hours off duty after the week.
Drivers who use a sleeper berth, must take at least eight consecutive hours there, plus an additional two consecutive hours off duty.
Experts believe fatigue is one of the major contributing factors to major truck accidents. Inadequate sleep or sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea, can impair driving to the same extent as driving under the influence.
Truck Drivers Must Maintain Accurate Log Books
Drivers are required to maintain accurate log books that include the number of miles covered every day, the driving hours, and the maintenance of the big-rig, as well as other data. The problem is, drivers sometimes falsify these records. The more miles they cover, the more they earn. Sometimes they may need to deliver a load quickly or simply get back home. But by June 2012, Federal law will require electronic on-board records installed in commercial motor vehicles, making falsifying records more difficult.
Alcohol and Drugs Are Forbidden
The regulations covering alcohol use are very strict. Drivers are considered intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol level of 0.04 percent, half the legal limit for passenger vehicle drivers. In addition, no alcohol consumption is allowed within four hours of driving a large truck and use of narcotics or amphetamines is strictly forbidden.
The load weight is limited by law. Drivers must be properly secure the cargo, inspect it within the first 50 miles after beginning a trip and then every three hours, making adjustments as necessary.
The driver must use a seat belt.
He or she must stop within 50 feet but not closer than 15 feet of a train crossing to look and listen for an approaching train. Drivers cannot shift gears while crossing the tracks.
No driver can take an unauthorized person on the large truck unless they are there to attend to livestock or unless assigned by the carrier.
No open flame heater is to be used on the truck and no radar detector.
Farah & Farah’s Jacksonville Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help!
The Jacksonville truck accident lawyers at Farah & Farah have investigated many catastrophic truck accidents and finds that negligence and fatigue are generally at least a contributing cause of a crash. Our dedicated staff understands how to conduct an investigation including reviewing the driver logs to see if hours-of-service rules were followed and whether drugs or alcohol may have been involved. Call our personal injury attorneys as soon as possible after a collision to make sure that vital evidence is preserved to help us help you.