Los Angeles Laws and Regulations Pertaining to Truck Drivers
Trucking Laws and Regulations
The commercial trucking industry is heavily regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Due to the sheer size and dangers of having such large vehicles on the road, the laws and regulations governing semis and 18-wheelers are more rigorous than those for standard vehicles.
The laws and regulations mentioned on this page are just a few of the hundreds of guidelines truckers are required to comply with. Failing to abide by FMCSA regulations cannot only lead to a disastrous accident but result in hefty fines.
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- How Many Hours Can a Truck Driver Work?
- Required Knowledge
- Weight and Cargo Regulations
- Additional Resources
How Many Hours Can a Truck Driver Work?
Truck drivers have a lot of responsibility. Many of them help fuel our economy by driving long distances to deliver goods. The biggest concern of the FMSCA is driver safety, which is why they regulate the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road.
Hours-of-service limits focus on how long a driver is allowed to drive. These time limits include the following:
- 14-hour driving window: This 14-hour window is viewed as a daily time limit, even though it’s not based on 24 hours. With this regulation, a driver is allowed to drive for 11 consecutive hours in a 14-hour window. Once this limit has been reached, a driver cannot drive again until they have been off for 10 straight hours. Keep in mind; the 14-hour limit also includes breaks.
- 11-hour driving limit: During a 14-hour window, a driver is only allowed to drive for 11 hours. However, driving is not permitted unless 8-hours have passed since the end of a driver’s last off-duty period or 30-minute break. Once a driver has reached 11 hours, they must go off duty for 10 hours before driving again.
- 30-minute breaks: A 30-minute break is required if more than 8 straight hours have passed since a driver’s last off-duty period or half-hour break. For instance, if a driver begins driving at 7 a.m., they would be required to stop at 3 p.m. and take a 30-minute break, and then drive for another three hours to complete their 11 hours.
- 60/70-hour duty limit: There are two ways the 60/70-hour rule can be met:
- If a company does not operate seven days a week, a driver is not allowed to drive after they’ve been on duty for 60 hours over seven days.
- If a company does operate seven days a week, then a driver cannot drive more than 70 hours in eight consecutive days.
- 34-hour restart: The 60/70 limit can be reset by taking off 34 hours or more. Other off-duty tasks can be performed during this off-time such as loading, unloading and paperwork. This restart period is optional.
The FMCSA requires all commercial truck drivers to have certain knowledge and skills. All of these requirements are covered in the California skills test administered when applying for a CDL. Listed below are the general requirements of a commercial truck driver:
- Knowledge of safety operation regulations such as repairs, the effects of fatigue and the types of vehicles and cargo subject to regulation
- Knowledge of safety control systems such as basic controls of the truck, the consequences of improper shifting and the importance of visual search methods
- Communications skills and space management
- How to drive in extreme weather conditions such as mountain driving, high wind and hot weather
- Emergency maneuvers
- Consequences of improperly secured cargo
- Pre-trip vehicle inspection skills and basic operation skills
This is just a few examples of the knowledge and skills required of a truck driver. View section 383.110 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for a complete list.
Weight and Cargo Regulations
Overweight or unsecured cargo poses a grave threat to truckers and other drivers on the road. Both the FMCSA and the California Vehicle Code restrict how much a truck can carry and how it should be secured. A truck manufacturer will determine the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which is the total weight a truck can carry. This weight is determined by numerous factors such as the body of the truck, where loads will be placed, its powertrain rating and brake system.
Federal and state weight regulations include the following:
- Total weight: 80,000 pounds
- Weight on a single axle: 20,000 pounds
- Axle groups less than 8 feet by 6 inches: 34,000 per axle
All commercial vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds are required to stop at weigh stations.
All cargo on a flatbed truck must be secured with a proper securing device such as chains, synthetic webbing or wire rope. The securing device must also be in proper working order, so there should be no knots, apparent damage or weakened sections.
All cargo must also meet one of the following conditions:
- Be fully contained by a structure of sufficient strength
- Be immobilized by a structure of adequate strength or by a combination of bracing and blocking
- Be secured or immobilized by a tie down and one of the following:
- Friction mats
- Void fillers
- Other cargo
Additional Resources for Trucking Laws and Regulations
Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service – View a guide from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over the hours-of-service regulations. You can find out who is required to comply with the regulations, learn about short-haul exceptions and find out what can be done during on-duty time.
Weight Limitations | California Vehicle Code – Visit the official website of the California Department of Transportation to learn more about the weight regulations. You can find more information on axel weight, which commercial trucks are exempt from weight regulations and answers to frequently asked questions.
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Here at Yarian Accident & Injury Lawyers, APC, we are dedicated to our clients and will do whatever necessary to achieve the settlement you deserve. We are here to make the process as easy for you as possible.
You can call (818) 459-4999 to schedule a free case consultation.