Interstate trucks barrel across California and travel over state lines. They come in many forms, like semi-trucks, tanker trucks, flatbed trucks, and many other big-wheeled vehicles that carry products and raw materials along the highways.
Vehicles that travel between states are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which has a long and strict set of rules. Although regular drivers don’t have to follow them, truckers and trucking companies must follow them or face sanctions.
Registration and Tracking are Required
Every commercial truck that travels interstate must be registered with the FMCSA. It also must have a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) commercial vehicle ID number that identifies it uniquely from every other truck on the road.
Trucks that carry loads within California also must have a California motor carrier permit ID number that’s issued by the California Highway Patrol. Under California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 34507.5, this ID number must be displayed on both sides of the vehicle.
To maintain their federal and state motor carrier permits, truckers and trucking companies must follow certain rules. For example, they must maintain insurance and do required background checks of drivers before hitting the road.
Interstate Truckers Must Keep a Logbook
Truckers face strict driving standards, including keeping track of their movements. Drivers are required to log their hours of service in a logbook and can’t exceed maximum standards for driving time.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Hours of Service Regulation allows a maximum of 60/70 hours per 7/8 consecutive days and 10 to 11 hours after 8 to 10 consecutive hours off duty, depending on the load type. But California’s own rules are actually somewhat stricter than this.
California has something called the 80-Hour 8-Day Rule that keeps truckers from working more than 80 hours in an 8-day period. Also, they must take at least 10 hours off between shifts, and after the 8-day period, there must be a 34-hour off-duty rest period – a safety rule most other states don’t have.
Here’s another timing rule. Truckers are responsible for reporting their duty status at least once during every 24-hour period. The daily status report should include things like the date, their miles driven, and their vehicle ID number.
Truckers also have to submit to drug and alcohol testing, and their employers are required to keep track of it all. A trucker’s blood alcohol content (BAC) should never exceed .04 while operating a vehicle.
There are Loading and Cargo Rules for Safe Trucking
There are also very strict load and cargo securement rules for interstate trucks. So if a cargo truck was improperly loaded or secured, the party who’s responsible for that can be held liable for the accident.
Most often, at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we see situations where the truckers have used incorrect straps to hold down the load, improperly load it, or overloaded it. When you overload a trailer with too much cargo or stack boxes dangerously close to the back of the trailer, it’s an accident waiting to happen.
Finally, we’d like to point out that the biggest, most potentially destructive trucks are usually required to carry at least $750,000 in liability coverage. Some carriers have up to $1 million or even $5 million in insurance.
At a minimum, California commercial truckers must have liability insurance covering $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $5,000 for property damage. But most companies carry up to $1 million in coverage because they know accidents happen in their business.
For example, a commercial tour bus that carries 15 or more people may have a huge insurance policy in case a large number of people are injured. Or a trucking firm that handles hazardous materials might have a multi-million dollar policy in case of a rollover and chemical spill that causes enormous harm.
These policies exist to help people like you – injured victims of trucking accidents. If a trucker hurts you on the road, it’s your right to take action against them. We’re here to help you stand up to an interstate trucking company and get the compensation you deserve.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of personal injury claims, including semi-truck accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.