California Trucking Regulations

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Large commercial trucks perform essential functions for the economy of California and the entire United States. These vehicles deliver goods that our country needs. However, our truck accident lawyer know large commercial trucks can also cause significant injuries in the event they are involved in an accident with traditional passenger vehicles. Because of the dangers posed by commercial trucks, the federal and state governments place stringent regulations on the operation of these vehicles. 

Hours of service restrictions

All commercial truck drivers hold their commercial driver’s licenses, and they must comply with various regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other regulations set forth by various California departments. 

In order to reduce the rate of truck crashes caused by fatigued driving, the FMCSA imposes stringent hours of service requirements that limit how long a commercial truck driver can operate without taking breaks. The total number of hours that a trucker can operate per shift depends on their overall schedule.

  • Truck drivers are allowed to operate for 11 total hours during a 14-hour driving window. This 14-our window includes any breaks needed for food, the restroom, or a nap. The 14-hour period begins after a driver has been off duty for ten consecutive hours.
  • Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break if they have been operating the truck for more than eight consecutive hours.
  • Truckers can operate for 60 hours of on-duty driving time during a seven consecutive day period. A truck driver can operate for 70 hours of on-duty driving time during an eight consecutive day period. 
  • Truck drivers can reset a seven- or eight-day workweek by taking 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty. 

Truck maintenance requirements

According to FMCSA regulations, every motor carrier is responsible for systematically inspecting, repairing, and maintaining every vehicle subject to its control. This includes ensuring that parts and accessories are in safe and proper working conditions at all times.  

All records of inspection, maintenance, and repairs must be kept for a certain amount of time as required by FMCSA regulations. 

Truck company liability for injuries and insurance coverage requirements 

Trucking companies are required to carry a certain amount of liability insurance for their vehicles. However, many truck companies seek to avoid legal responsibility for the actions of their drivers by classifying them as independent contractors instead of actual employees. In fact, a significant number of truck drivers in California operate as independent contractors. This can present challenges when it comes to determining whether or not the truck company can be held vicariously liable for accidents involving their trucks or drivers. 

By law, truck companies in California are required to carry minimal amounts of liability insurance, and these minimums are significantly higher than the regular insurance requirements on drivers in this state. 

Work with an attorney today 

If you or somebody you care about has been involved in an accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company, contact a Long Beach personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can use their resources and legal expertise to conduct a complete investigation into the incident and help ensure that victims recover full compensation for their losses.