Trucking Regulations in the United States
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In the United States, commercial vehicles carrying passengers and/or cargo are regulated by both state and federal laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), is the primary entity that oversees the trucking industry. The FMCSA imposes rules that cover everything from the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to drive to how hazardous materials must be labeled to the overall size and weight restrictions of various vehicles.
Trucking companies are required by law to follow all federal and applicable state regulations; failure to do so is typically considered an act of negligence. When trucking companies violate industry regulations, they can be held accountable for any accidents that occur.
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Understanding South Carolina Trucking Laws
In addition to federal regulations, South Carolina truck drivers—or any commercial vehicle operator who holds a commercial driver’s license (CDL) issued by the state of South Carolina—are subject to additional state trucking laws. Additionally, intrastate drivers must abide by certain South Carolina trucking regulations when entering or traveling through the state.
Some of South Carolina’s trucking regulations include:
- All individuals must be at least 18 years of age in order to obtain a CDL
- Drivers applying for a CDL must have a valid South Carolina driver’s license, as well as certification proving they have completed a medical physical exam
- To operate a vehicle with air brakes, double or triple trailers, or a tanker truck in South Carolina, truck drivers must obtain additional endorsements
- Truck drivers must also secure hazmat endorsements and complete a TSA background check in order to operate a truck that transports hazardous materials in South Carolina
- With certain exceptions, trucks in South Carolina may not exceed 20,000 pounds (plus 10% tolerance) if single axle and traveling on non-interstate roads
- Trucks must be equipped with an electronic logging device (ELD), which shows the number of hours the truck was in operation (drive hours)
- Intrastate motor carriers that operate in South Carolina must obtain and display S.C. Intrastate DOT numbers on all commercial vehicles
This list comprises just some of the many trucking regulations that both truck drivers and trucking companies must abide by. In addition, truck drivers and their employers must carry certain insurance coverage and meet various minimum requirements for bodily injury, property damage, and other insurance coverage.
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How Rule Violations Lead to Accidents
The trucking industry is a heavily regulated one. However, truck drivers and trucking companies do not always follow the law, choosing to instead prioritize profits ahead of public safety. When this is the case, they put innocent people at risk. Trucking law violations can lead to everything from fatigued drivers to overloaded vehicles to improperly labeled hazardous materials. All of these, and countless other situations, can and do lead to very serious accidents that injure thousands of people and kill hundreds more each year.
At Anastopoulo Law Firm we believe that individuals and companies that violate federal and state trucking regulations should be held accountable for their negligence. Our South Carolina attorneys have an in-depth understanding of the laws that govern the trucking industry, including trucking companies located in South Carolina and throughout the nation. We can help you determine if the accident that left you dealing with serious injuries was caused by trucking regulation violations and, if so, will work to secure the maximum compensation you are owed. Our legal team is prepared to be the aggressive advocate you need.