Over four million people in the United States have a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, to operate heavy commercial vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, on roads and highways. These 18-wheelers are much larger than most other cars around them, which means that these types of crashes can have greater consequences.

Therefore, the federal government established the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, to regulate the industry, reduce collisions, and improve highway safety. When pursuing compensation from an accident-related injury, you should understand federal trucking laws in Houston. Connect with our skilled truck accident attorneys today if you have questions or need help with a claim.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

Federal regulations provide acceptable minimum standards for commercial truck operation. Drivers and their employers must adhere to the statutes or risk paying costly fines and having their CDL suspended or revoked. The FMCSA regulates and oversees safe operations for over 500,000 trucking companies and four million truckers holding CDL licenses. The agency’s primary purpose is to reduce crashes leading to severe injuries and fatalities in crashes throughout the U.S. FMCSA regulations include:

  • Pre-Employment Screening rules and guidelines
  • Regulating the Safety Measurement System to collect crash data, statistics, and investigation results
  • The Commercial Driver’s License program ensures compliance with the rules for obtaining and holding a CDL for truckers
  • Safe operation and vehicle requirements, such as hours of duty, alcohol and drug screening, heavy commercial vehicle inspections, and truck maintenance requirements
  • The Hazardous Material program maintains a minimum requirement for the safe operation of vehicles transporting the material
  • The Cargo Tank Safety program seeks to improve safety by enforcing hazmat carrier licensing, inspection, and education and training

During the consultation, a lawyer knowledgeable about national trucking statutes in Houston could review the rules and answer questions.

Types of Vehicles Regulated by FMCSA

The FMCSA regulates commercial vehicles depending on various factors. Although some exceptions and exemptions apply, failing to comply can lead to consequences, including negatively affecting truck drivers or employer safety records and the ability to operate the following vehicles:

  • Buses carrying the operator plus 14 people for no fare
  • Buses carrying the driver and more than seven other people for a fare
  • Trucks, such as 18-wheelers that transport hazardous waste
  • Heavy commercial trucks, such as 18-wheelers, with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds

Federal government oversight includes safety training, trucker qualification guidelines and fitness requirements, hours of service, and more.

The Motor Carrier’s Guide to Highway Safety in Texas

While federal statutes regulate the trucking industry, most states have additional guidelines and regulations that truckers must adhere to when traveling in or through the state. The Texas Department of Public Safety is responsible for creating, researching, and updating the Motor Carrier’s Guide to Highway Safety, which sets standards and covers safety issues and training.

The guide provides instructions and requirements, including commercial motor carrier safety rules and statutes, hazardous material regulations, and covered farm vehicles. Compliance with safety rules and legislation saves lives and helps keep public roads and highways safe for everyone traveling throughout the state. An attorney could review Houston federal trucking regulations in detail and answer questions regarding the rules and process of recovering damages after collisions.

Call a Houston Attorney for Information About Federal Trucking Laws

The trucking industry, including businesses and drivers, plays a significant role in transporting all types of freight, including food, products, and hazardous materials throughout the country. While they are essential, the size and weight of the vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, make collisions severe and often deadly.

Therefore, federal and state agencies tightly regulate truckers and companies employing them to reduce accidents and promote highway safety. Civil laws allow you to hold the at-fault party legally and financially accountable when accidents happen because of non-compliance. Schedule an appointment with a lawyer seasoned in cases concerning federal trucking laws in Houston for more information.