Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

Almost any truck wreck is likely to involve violation of multiple Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. An attorney handling a truck wreck case must be familiar with these regulations, which are designed to protect public safety.

A few of the more significant regulations are:

49 CFR 390.3
Trucking companies are required to be familiar with trucking regulations and teach them to drivers and loading lock personnel.
49 CFR 390.5
Broadly defines "employee" of a trucking company to include independent contractors and drivers of leased trucks. A driver may simultaneously qualify as an "employee" of multiple companies, increasing the amount of liability insurance available in a case of catastrophic injury.
49 CFR 391.11
Truck drivers must be over 21, pass a test on ability to safety operate the truck, read and speak English, and pass a physical exam related to ability to safely operate a large truck.
49 CFR 391.23
Trucking companies must check the driver's driving history and document that references have been checked.
49 CFR 391.15
A truck driver is automatically disqualified if caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with a blood alcohol score of 0.04 gr/%, and cannot consume any alcohol within four hours before driving.
49 CFR 391.25
Trucking company must monitor the truck driver's driving records at least annually.
49 CFR 390.13
Trucking companies should not aid, abet or encourage drivers' violations of regulations. Paying truck drivers by the mile, and not paying for inspections, required rest time, time out of service due to safety concerns, etc., may encourage violations of regulations.
49 CFR 395.3
Trucking companies must not permit or require drivers to exceed time in service rules. They should monitor driver logs. If a driver "cooks the books" to falsify service time, rest time, inspections, etc., that is imputed to the employer.
49 CFR 392.2
Interstate truck drivers must obey traffic laws of states where they operate.
49 CFR 392.3
Driver and company prohibited from operation when driver's ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate a commercial vehicle.
49 CFR 392.4
Drivers' use of amphetamines prohibited.
49 CFR 392.5
Drivers' use of alcohol prohibited.
49 CFR 392.6
Trucking companies must schedule loads with time for safe delivery.
49 CFR 392.7
In a pre-trip inspection the following must be in good working order: service brakes, including trailer brake connections; parking (hand) brake; steering mechanism; lighting devices and reflectors; tires; horn; windshield wiper or wipers; rear-vision mirror or mirrors; coupling devices. See also 49 CFR 396.13.
49 CFR 392.8
Duty to inspect emergency equipment.
49 CFR 392.9
Driver must inspect truck's load at beginning of trip, again in first 25 miles, and every 3 hours or 150 miles thereafter, except for a sealed trailer.
49 CFR 392.22
Warning devices must be put out within ten minutes when a truck is disabled.
49 CFR 392.14
Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued.
49 CFR 392.71
Radar detectors are prohibited.
49 CFR 396.13
Driver vehicle inspection requirements.