Crashes involving commercial motor vehicles, tractor-trailers, dump trucks, or any other large vehicles are different than typical automobile crashes. The most significant difference is that these vehicles are generally very large and they have the potential to cause a lot of damage when something goes wrong on the roadways. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of these crashes result in serious injury or death. Also, the drivers of these trucks are typically required to abide by additional federal and state laws that govern how they behave and how they drive. These cases cannot be handled like any other automobile accident case. Make sure your attorney is familiar with the intricacies of cases involving commercial trucks.
The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration
The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration ("FMSCA") is the federal governmental agency that is responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles. The agency promulgates regulations that govern the ways companies and driver must act when driving a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. Although the regulations generally do not apply to intrastate commerce, most states incorporate some or all portions of the FMSCA regulations into their state law. For example, Florida incorporate various provisions of the FMSCA regulations into the Florida State Statutes. This "incorporation by reference" can be found in Florida Statute § 316.02.
What type of vehicles does the FMSCA regulate?
The agency regulates vehicles that are operated in interstate commerce that fall into the following categories:
- A vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 4,537 kg (10,001 lb) or more, whichever is greater;
- A vehicle designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation;
- A vehicle designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers; or
- Any size vehicle used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act
What type of behavior does the FMSCA regulate?
The entirety of the FMSCA regulations can be found here. and there are too many regulations to go through all of them in this article. However, some of the main areas regulated by the FMSCA includes:
- Drug and alcohol testing policies (Part 382);
- Ill and fatigued drivers (Part 392);
- Commercial driver's license standards (Part 383);
- Hours of service of drivers (Part 395); and
- Inspection, repair, and maintenance of the vehicle (Part 396).
It is absolutely critical that any attorney dealing with a trucking case know these regulations. Otherwise, the attorney may not ask crucial questions at deposition that will show that the driver, and more importantly the company, failed to abide by federal regulations that were specifically put in place to keep the roadways safe.
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH TRUCKING CASES
At Bodenheimer Personal Injury Law Firm, P.A., we have handled numerous cases involving serious and catastrophic injuries relating to the negligence of a commercial motor vehicle driver. We handle these cases throughout Florida as we understand that sometimes these trucks use rural highways outside of South Florida. We recently handled a case where the driver of a commercial motor vehicle was hauling silica sand from a quarry in central Florida to the shores of Miami Beach. The photographs of the crash are below:
Through our investigation, we discovered that the driver had slept three hours the day before this crash and that he was on the cell phone at the time of the crash. The driver and the company also attempted to avoid liability by changing documents during discovery and ultimately the case settled for a confidential amount. Our familiarity with the federal regulations that govern commercial motor vehicle drivers and companies helped us resolve the case quickly with a favorable result for our client.
Contact Bodenheimer Personal Injury Law Firm, P.A. if you have been involved in a crash with a truck or commercial motor vehicle in Florida
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a crash with a truck or commercial motor vehicle and you are looking for a truck crash lawyer, contact Bodenheimer Personal Injury Law Firm, P.A. We have experience handling these types of cases and we know how to collect and preserve evidence that will help make your case better. Although we are located in Hollywood, Florida, we take cases across the state of Florida. We are open 24 hours every day (including weekends) for consultation regarding your case. You can reach us at (954) 712-7402, [email protected], or you can fill out a contact form on this website.