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What are the Indiana State and Federal laws that govern truck drivers?

What are the Indiana State and Federal laws that govern truck drivers?

Trucking companies must follow the following federal regulations found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSA):

  • Truck drivers are required to keep a driver’s log.
  • Federal regulations require a commercial driver’s license for certain vehicles to reduce or prevent truck accidents, serious injuries, and death.
  • Federal regulations require commercial trucks to have specific insurance coverage depending upon the type of load transported.
  • The Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program requires that States and certain jurisdictions develop, support, and implement safety programs that establish and improve safer transportation of goods.

Common provisions used in accident litigation

9 C.F.R. § 391 – Qualification of Drivers
If a driver operates a tractor trailer or other commercial vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds, carries 16 or more passengers, or transports hazardous materials, he must comply with certain regulations. Truck drivers must be at least 21 years old, speak English, be physically able to safely operate a truck, and have a valid CDL.  In addition, the driver must not be disqualified for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, committing a felony, leaving the scene of an accident, refusing to take an alcohol test, or for any other reason.

9 C.F.R. § 397 – Transportation of Hazardous Materials
This section applies to the drivers of commercial motor vehicles that transport hazardous materials and the employees who perform supervisory duties related to the transportation of these materials. Generally, the driver of a commercial motor vehicle carrying explosives cannot leave the vehicle unattended. There are restrictions as to where a driver carrying explosive materials may park. No smoking is allowed within 25 feet of a truck containing explosives or flammable materials.

49 C.F.R. § 382 – Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing
This section is to establish programs within the trucking industry to prevent accidents and injuries resulting from the use of alcohol or drugs by commercial vehicle drivers.  It applies to all drivers of commercial vehicles in the US and their employers.  Truck drivers required to have a commercial drivers license (CDL), must be tested if they drive a vehicle that weighs more than 26,000 pounds, designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or carries hazardous materials.

Federal regulations can be very complex and confusing.  This is why it’s important to talk with an experienced attorney who can explain and apply them to your specific truck accident case.