Commercial truck drivers and companies violating California trucking regulations can be held liable for accidents and injuries caused by their negligence. Semi-trucks are big and heavy, and they are often difficult to stop quickly. Commercial truck drivers are required to have special training and licensing in order to drive a semi, and the company must have certain protocols in place to guarantee the safety of both the driver and others on the road. When the regulations are not followed, the victim is entitled to seek compensation from the driver, the company, or perhaps both. The lawyers at Bennett Johnson, LLP in Oakland, CA, have helped many clients who have been in an accident with a semi-truck get the compensation they deserve. 

Regulation of Commercial Truck Driving in California

Just like drivers of non-commercial vehicles are required to adhere to certain rules of the road when behind the wheel, the commercial trucking industry is also required to comply with a certain set of rules and regulations. In California, the commercial trucking industry is regulated by the Department of Transportation. Some things that are subject to regulation include:

  • Size and weight of the truck
  • Length and width of the truck
  • Overhang and clearance ability 
  • Emissions

Injuries from a trucking accident can be severe, and the victim deserves compensation.  When a commercial trucker or company fails to follow California Trucking Regulations, liability lies with that truck driver or company.

Federal Regulations

In addition to state regulations, the trucking industry is also regulated at the federal level by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The purpose of the administration is to reduce the likelihood of accidents, and this is done by:

  • Development and implementation of regulations that attempt to balance the business needs of commercial trucking with safety concerns of all motorists
  • Providing educational information and data to commercial companies
  • Requiring breaks and time limits on driver activity, which is enforced by use of an electronic logging device of hours driven
  • Requiring maintenance and upkeep for trucks

How Regulations Impact an Injury

Even with regulations and restrictions in place, accidents still occur. The Office of Trucks and Services division of the California Department of Transportation is charged with oversight of certain rules and regulations for the California trucking industry. Along with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, these governmental entities set forth the rules required by the State. Common requirements include imposition of height and weight restrictions, licensing, checkpoints, and imposition of fines for non-compliance.

Federal regulations go above and beyond what the state has in place, and can act as a guide for what is required at the state level. Noncompliance with either state or federal regulations, or both plays a role in making a claim because proving non-compliance is key to assessing liability.

Liability for Trucking Injuries

Injuries caused by a commercial truck are usually more severe than an injury from a non-commercial car wreck. The sheer size and weight of a truck necessarily means an injury will be significant, as most consumer cars are no match for a semi-truck. The regulations in place at both the state and federal level are designed to reduce accidents, and when those regulations are not complied with, the company responsible for making sure rules are followed should be held liable for the injury. The key is to identify the regulation not adhered to, and show lack of compliance caused or contributed to the injury.

Contact Our Office for More Information

The team of attorneys at Bennett Johnson, LLP has secured damages for many clients who have been hurt in trucking accidents. For more information, contact us online or call our office at (530) 413-0245.

Attorneys Richard Bennett and William Johnson

Bennett Johnson, LLP

Attorneys Richard Bennett and William Johnson have practiced law for more than four decades. Since opening Bennett Johnson, LLP, in 1981, our clients have been awarded more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements. They are members of several professional legal organizations, including:

  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum®
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at (510) 444-5020.

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