Trucks travel long distances to deliver packages and cargo to homes, warehouses, stores, and other destinations. Frequently, this means that trucks are going to pass through multiple states to get where they are going. One of the things the federal government does is regulate commerce between states. Commercial trucks traveling across states fall under that purview. Because commercial trucks are so likely to be in multiple states for their job, there are trucking regulations set in place by federal government-level entities to create some kind of uniformity between states as to what truckers are allowed and not allowed to do.
In Maryland, federal trucking regulations will apply to commercial trucks that want to travel out of the state to deliver things. Depending on the federal rule or regulation, it could also apply to trucks that only travel within Maryland.
For help with your case, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Maryland truck accident lawyers at (410) 694-7291 to get a free case review.
Federal Trucking Regulations in MD Truck Accidents
Federal trucking rules and regulations are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA exists to ensure that there are standards for truck drivers across the United States and to make sure that packages are delivered safely. If you were in a truck accident in Maryland, one of the first things our Baltimore truck accident lawyers will do is look at whether these rules were violated.
Hours of Service Regulations
One thing that the FMCSA does is put hours of service limits on how long a trucker is allowed to be on the road at one time. These rules are in place because driving any vehicle – let alone a massive 18-wheeler – while tired and fatigued is incredibly dangerous. In fact, it is just about as dangerous to drive tired as it is to drive drunk.
First, truck drivers can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off-duty. Second, a trucker cannot drive beyond 14 consecutive hours after 10 hours off-duty. Third, truckers must take 30-minute breaks after driving for eight hours without interruption. Finally, a truck driver cannot drive more than 60 hours on duty a seven-day workweek or more than 70 consecutive hours in an eight-day workweek.
To make sure truckers are following these rules, they are required to keep logbooks of their hours. If a trucker gets in an accident because they were not following these rules, you could have a claim against them.
Commercial Driver’s License Regulations
A commercial driver’s license is a special license that denotes that a trucker is qualified to drive their vehicle for a trucking company. Federal commercial driver’s license rules are set by 49 C.F.R. § 383.
This regulation outlines how truckers obtain, keep, and, if appropriate, lose their commercial driver’s license. There are various skill and knowledge tests that truckers must pass to be certain kinds of commercial drivers. For example, if a trucker wants to be able to transport hazardous materials, they need to pass a test indicating that they are capable of transporting that material.
Notably, 49 CFR § 383 applies to commerce that happens both between states as well as within only one state. So, while some regulations may only apply to trucks that will leave Maryland, this one also applies to trucks that will do business in Maryland only.
Drug and Alcohol Regulations
49 CFR § 382 details federal regulations for truckers regarding the use of drugs and alcohol. Drunk or otherwise impaired driving is very dangerous – doubly so when the impaired person is driving a heavy truck. Accordingly, there are rules governing the use and testing of drugs and alcohol for commercial drivers.
As would be expected, drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs is prohibited for commercial truckers. Additionally, there are testing procedures trucking companies must follow for their truckers that are laid out in 49 CFR §40.
Trucking companies can get in serious trouble if they do not follow or choose to ignore federal drug testing rules. One of the things our Bel Air, MD truck accident lawyers can request when gathering evidence for a truck accident lawsuit is whether the driver who drove the truck involved in the accident was appropriately tested. If the trucking company did not do what they were supposed to, they could owe you damages.
Unified Carrier Registration Act in MD
The Unified Carrier Registration Act (UCRA) is a law that requires motor carriers (trucking companies) to register with a federal registry that keeps track of trucks that partake in interstate commerce. As of 2023, 49 states require their trucks to be registered under the UCRA.
Maryland is not a participating state in the Unified Carrier Registration Act. However, that does not at all mean that the act is not relevant to the state. Trucks in Maryland that want to transport things to any other state must be registered with the act. Therefore, there are a sizable number of Maryland trucks that are registered with the UCRA, even though the state itself does not require it.
Additionally, trucks traveling through Maryland that are not originally from the state have a much higher chance of being registered with the UCRA. One of the primary purposes of the UCRA is to easily allow trucks from other states to be looked up. This can be very helpful in instances where a truck accident happens in one state (Maryland), but the truck is from another state. The truck can simply be looked up, and evidence gathering and investigation will go much smoother than it would otherwise.
Talk with Our Maryland Truck Accident Lawyers Today
Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Potomac, MD truck accident lawyers are ready to help with your case when you call (410) 694-7291.