Federal Trucking Regulations

Statistics demonstrate that truck accidents consistently cause damage and/or fatalities on the roadways in America. The level of truck traffic has increased throughout the United States in tandem with an increased demand for goods and products. Consequently, the federal government has adopted certain regulations that govern the operation of tractor trailers across America. In most instances, the State of Georgia has adopted these regulations. Some of the more important regulations include the following:

Hours of Service

The regulations dealing with hours of service (HOS) are designed to keep truck drivers fresh and alert in order to minimize fatigue; increase reaction time; and decrease truck accidents. Many states have similar—sometimes identical—guidelines regarding when and how long a truck driver may operate a tractor trailer. Unfortunately, employers of truck drivers occasionally “persuade” truck drivers to ignore the hours of services regulations by demanding shipment to a particular destination at a specific time which encourages the trucker to speed and/or skip his/her rest breaks. Consequently, a speeding truck or a drowsy driver can caused serious bodily injury to motorists. Additionally, it is customary in the trucking business for employers to pay drivers by the mile, so truckers may choose to ignore the HOS regulations in order to increase their pay.

The HOS regulations include, without limitation, the following:

  • drivers may only be on duty for driving for a maximum of 14 hours are not permitted to operate a tractor trailer after the 14th hour
  • drivers shall not drive after 60 hours on duty in a consecutive seven day work week
  • drivers shall not driver after 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days
  • driver may restart driving after a 7/8 consecutive day period if the driver has taken at least 34 or more consecutive hours off duty rest
  • drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • drivers are prohibited from texting while driving from state to state
  • companies shall not require drivers to text or allow drivers to text while driving
Alcohol and Drug Rules/Testing

Like similar state laws for motorists operating cars, truck drivers are also subject to rules governing when/what/how much a driver may use legal drugs while operating a tractor trailer. Some of the regulations include the following:

  • drivers are subject to random drug tests before, during and after driving a tractor trailer
  • mandatory drug tests that test for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and PCP after any accident in which the driver is cited by law enforcement and after any accident involving a fatality
  • drivers are subject to drug testing after a supervisor or other acting manager has determined that there is reasonably suspicion that a driver may be misusing alcohol based on behavior and/or actions
  • drivers are not allowed to operate trucks while using alcohol
  • drivers are not allowed to operate trucks while possessing a blood alcohol level equal to or greater than 0.04 percent
  • drivers are not allowed to operate trucks within four hours of using alcohol
Inspection and Logbooks

In order to verify that truck drivers are complying with applicable regulations, drivers and their employers are required by law to keep timely and regular records documenting their compliance. Some of the required documentation includes:

  • drug and alcohol testing results
  • daily inspections of the truck including brakes, tires, steering performance, signals and other emergency equipment
  • off duty and on duty hours
  • safety reports
  • truck condition
  • hours of service logbook
  • daily logbook

If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of the negligence of a truck driver, it is of utmost importance to contact an experienced personal injury attorney quickly inasmuch as evidence on the roadway may deteriorate over time and logbooks are not kept secure and in evidence for an indefinite period. Negligence of a truck driver and his/her employer can result from alcohol/drug misuse, improper training, violation of hours of services regulations, violation of road rules, improper maintenance, improper equipment and weight restrictions, among others.

Georgia, as well as the federal government, has special laws that apply to trucks operating on the roads in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. Frequently, these laws limit the number of hours that a truck driver can drive without resting, the weight of the load in the trailer and most other aspects of truck driving. Often, the violation of these laws by a truck driver and the trucking company is the reason for the cause of the truck accident. The Law Offices of Kevin C. Ford frequently works with trucking experts to establish the cause and fault of the collision.

Do Not Delay – Call Now for a Free Consultation From an Experienced Attorney

If you are injured in a tractor trailer collision or truck accident in Georgia, Mr. Ford can help you receive the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries, lost earnings or wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. The Law Offices of Kevin C. Ford is currently accepting trucking accident cases throughout Georgia. Please contact us today for a free consultation.