Trucking Laws

Federal and state trucking laws exist to ensure the safety of truck drivers, their employers, federal and state entities, and other vehicles on the road. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sets forth federal standards and trucking laws that apply to all truck drivers in the United States. Trucking laws apply to a number of factors involved in trucking, such as driver qualification and behavior, trucking company policies, and driver and vehicle insurance policies.

Truck Driver Regulations

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes and enforces federal regulations that apply to truckers. These federal trucking laws apply to several trucking aspects such as driver training and qualifications, transportation of goods, proper vehicle parts and functioning, and health and safety standards.

Federal trucking laws cover factors including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Motor carrier registration and insurance
  • Transportation of household goods in foreign or interstate commerce
  • Special driver training requirements
  • Driver drug and alcohol testing
  • Parts and accessories for safe vehicle operation
  • Federal motor vehicle safety standards
  • State compliance with the commercial driver’s license program

Truck Insurance Laws

In terms of federal requirements, all truck drivers must be covered by general trucking liability insurance. There are other types of trucking insurance that are not legally required, but provide great benefits and security for truck drivers. Truck drivers should speak with their insurance company and employer to determine the best insurance plan for both legal and personal purposes. Both interstate and intrastate insurance policies should be discussed for drivers who travel through multiple states.

Primary Trucking Liability Insurance

The most basic form of trucking insurance to remain legal on the road is primary liability insurance. Primary liability insurance acts similarly to auto insurance. This type of insurance is in place to cover any injuries and damage that may occur in a truck accident. Truck drivers must have a minimum of $750,000 of coverage. In the event of fault in an accident, this insurance policy would then cover the truck driver for up to $750,000 of damage.

General Trucking Liability Insurance

General liability insurance for truckers covers the vehicle when it is not on the road. This includes rest stops, parking lots, and loading and unloading activities. Additionally, general liability insurance covers instances such as vandalism and theft. Truck drivers should speak with their insurance company regarding the different types of general liability insurance available.

New Scheduling Regulation

On July 1, 2013, the FMCSA implemented a new trucker scheduling regulation. The regulation aims to decrease trucker fatigue and promote safety and well-being. Under the new regulation, truck drivers are not permitted to work more than 70 hours per week. This hourly maximum decreased from 82 hours per week. While this regulation change is expected to make a large impact on those affected, it is estimated that 85 percent of truck drivers do not work for more than 70 hours a week.

 

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Sources:

Chamberlain, Daniel S. “Truck cases: rules of the road.” Trial Feb. 1998: 20+. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.
Fatka, Jacqui. “Trucking legislation introduced.” Feedstuffs 16 Aug. 2010: 19. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.

“New Trucking Alliance looking to influence Washington trucking safety initiatives.” Logistics Management [Highlands Ranch, Co.] Jan. 2013: 16+. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.

Padilla, Marissa. “New Hours-of-Service Safety Regulations to Reduce Truck Driver Fatigue Begin Today.” Department of Transportation. U.S. Department of Transportation, 1 Jul 2013. Web. 11 Oct 2013. <http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/new-hours-service-safety-regulations-reduce-truck-driver-fatigue-begin-today>.