New York has adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations
in regard to large trucks in our state. These regulations require truck drivers to obey certain rules in addition to typical road rules. Commercial truck regulations include:
- Hours-of-service restrictions: Truck drivers are not allowed to work more than 11 consecutive hours in a day or 77 hours per week. They must rest at least 10 hours per day, including at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
- Federal size requirements: In New York, vehicle combinations cannot exceed 13 feet, 6 inches in height and 55 feet in length to travel on highways.
- No entry on parkways in New York: Commercial drivers must use through truck routes instead.
- Weight limits of 80,000 pounds.
- Maintenance and safety requirements.
When a truck driver breaks any of these rules, it can result in a serious traffic accident. If, for example, a truck company overloads its cargo hold, it can cause parts of the truck to react to the strain and break down. Truck drivers most often break their hours-of-service restrictions. They are under strict deadlines to reach their destinations, and many trucking companies offer incentives to drivers who get there even faster. A broken system and unrealistic employer expectations can lead to drowsy driving – a deadly mistake in a large truck. If a trucking company fails to adhere to federal maintenance requirements, it could result in parts failure at a dangerous time. In these situations, the courts would hold the company responsible for accidents and injuries. If the truck driver lost control of the vehicle due to human error, such as distraction or driving under the influence
, the courts may still hold the company responsible due to strict liability laws, since the driver was acting as an employee of the company. It’s extremely important for commercial trucking companies and drivers to follow the restrictions and laws concerning large trucks. They are in place to protect other motorists on the roadway. As is the case with regular car accidents, when a driver or company is negligent in his or her duties of care, accident victims can obtain financial compensation for their damages.