How Safety Regulations Can Affect Your Truck Accident Case

truck  speeding on highwayOne way to prove negligence in a truck accident is to establish that the driver or another entity violated California trucking industry regulations in a variety of areas, such as drug and alcohol testing, weight limits or securing cargo.

If you or a loved one sustained an injury from a truck accident, it is important to contact a skilled Sacramento truck accident lawyer at the Arnold Law Firm. We have detailed knowledge of trucking industry regulations and how to prove a violation. We are committed to pursuing fair compensation for the injuries and damages you suffered in the accident.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

California law requires intrastate and interstate motor carriers to comply with federal regulations on drug and alcohol use and testing. Under the Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 Part 382 Section 382.205, truck drivers are prohibited from using alcohol while performing safety-sensitive functions. Employers that have actual knowledge of a driver using alcohol while performing these functions cannot permit the driver to continue performing safety-sensitive functions.

Under Section 382.301, employers must test drivers for drug and alcohol use before they are hired. However, there are various exceptions to this rule. For example, if the driver has taken part in a controlled substances and alcohol testing (CSAT) program that meets the requirements of federal regulations within the past 30 days, he or she may not be required to take this test. Drivers also may not have to be tested if they were tested for controlled substances within the past six months.

Under Section 382.305, every driver must submit to random alcohol and controlled substance testing. In the event of a collision, the driver must be tested as soon as is practical. If an alcohol test is not performed within two hours of the crash, the employer must prepare a file explaining why the test was not done.  

Weight Limit Regulations

According to both state and federal weight limits, the trucking company can only place so much equipment and product on a commercial truck without violating the law. As a general rule, there cannot be more than 20,000 pounds on any one axle. The total weight on any one wheel or wheels supported on one axle cannot exceed 10,500 pounds.

There are also weight limits for a group of axles. If there is four feet between the first and last axles of a group, the axle can carry no more than 32,000 pounds. The allowable weight increases as the distance between the first and last axles of a group increases. For instance, if there is 12 feet between the first and last axles of a group, the group can carry 36,400 pounds.

The following vehicles are exempt from front axle weight limits:

  • Trucks transporting other vehicles, livestock or grain and feed
  • Trucks dumping equipment, product or trash
  • Larger non-commercial vehicles such as cranes or buses
  • Vehicles that mix concrete or carry cement
  • Non-commercial motor vehicles and those operated by public utility companies
  • Fifth-wheel-attached trucks or those towing a semitrailer
  • Tank trucks with a cargo capacity of 1,500 gallons or more

Securing Cargo

There are special rules concerning the proper securing of different types of cargo. For example;

  • Logs must be transported on vehicles designed and built for this function. These vehicles must be fitted with bunks, bolsters, stakes or standards that cradle the logs and prevent them from falling.
  • If a truck is transporting metal coils, each coil must be secured by tiedowns arranged in a manner to prevent the coils from tipping forward, backward or in lateral directions.
  • If cars are being transported, they must be restrained in the front and rear to help prevent movement. These vehicles must be secured with at least two tiedowns, at minimum.

Contact Arnold Law Firm for Assistance

Safety regulations are put in place to protect drivers and passengers on the road. When the trucker or trucking company violates these regulations, victims of a collision may have the right to pursue compensatory damages. It is crucial to hire a lawyer who is experienced in truck accident cases to explain your legal rights and to help gather evidence to support your claim.

For assistance with a trucking accident, contact our experienced Sacramento personal injury attorneys to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We are familiar with various aspects of the trucking industry and know the safety regulations that apply to drivers and trucking companies.

Schedule a free consultation today by calling (916) 777-7777.