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 trucking regulations in the United States. Which includes 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.
For a free legal consultation with a trucking regulations lawyer serving South Carolina, call (800) 777-7777
Understanding South Carolina’s 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 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 physical medical 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 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 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 trucking regulations in the United States 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.
Who Is Legally Responsible for My South Carolina Truck Collision?
In general, your trucking regulations accident case will most likely be against a trucking company, corporation, or another employer of the truck driver. This may occur for one of several reasons:
#1. Respondeat Superior
Under South Carolina Supreme Court case law, the state recognizes respondeat superior. According to the opinion issued in Sams v. Arthur (1926), employers are legally responsible for negligent acts their workers commit while working within the scope of their jobs. For commercial drivers, this includes causing traffic accidents.
#2. The Regulations Are the Owner’s Responsibility
In some cases, the regulations that are not followed and contribute to an accident are the responsibility of the truck’s owner or the company that pays the driver to haul their cargo. When this occurs, it is the company that was negligent and legally responsible.
#3. The Trucking Company Was Negligent
This usually occurs because of negligent hiring or retention. In other words, the driver should not have been behind the wheel because they lacked certifications or had previous bad behavior. The company knew about their history but hired them or kept them on staff anyway.
#4. What Evidence Is Available to Support My Claim?
When our attorneys handle a truck accident case, we get started by investigating what happened, who caused it, and what insurance policies are available to pay for it. We need to gather strong evidence to prove each of these details to recover an appropriate payout for our client.
Some of the most common types of evidence in any traffic accident include:
- A crash report law enforcement filed while on the accident scene
- hysical evidence, such as each vehicle’s damage
- Witness statements taken during interviews
- Photographs from the scene
- Video of the collision
- Accident reconstruction experts conducted
- Relevant medical records
- A survey of the accident scene
- Expert witness testimony
- Documentation of damages
In the case of 18-wheeler crashes, trucking regulations help to ensure there is even more evidence available that may support our claim. Most of it is in the hands of the trucking company after a collision, so we need to act quickly to preserve it. We can send a spoliation letter and demand that the company keeps and shares:
- Data from the truck’s required onboard computer
- Information about the driver’s breaks and recent sleep
- Dashcam video, if available
- Post-accident drug and alcohol test results required by law
- Employment records and driving records
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Speak to our Legal Team About Your South Carolina Truck Accident
If you were hurt in a South Carolina truck accident, one of our attorneys can discuss your legal options with you for free. We provide complimentary case assessments so that victims of these crashes better understand their rights and how we can help them. We may be able to pursue compensation on your behalf.
Call (800) 313-2546 now to learn more.