Regulations and Industry Standards
A truck accident is unlike a routine car accident in several ways. There are a number of regulations and industry standards that apply to truck drivers and trucking companies that do not apply to ordinary drivers. One source of regulations is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which governs interstate trucking. The State of Ohio has also adopted these regulations to govern trucks that are driven only within the State such that they are not subject to the federal regulations. These regulations address a wide range of topics, including log keeping for maintenance and driving, alcohol and drug testing, driver licensing and qualifications, and restrictions on service hours.
Ohio Commercial Driver License Manual
Though the federal and state regulations are extensive, they are not all inclusive. In fact, these regs leave some specifics to industry standards. For example, the regs mandate that truck drivers obtain and use “special knowledge” for operating a big rig without defining what that entails. One source for industry standards that supplements the government’s regulatory framework is the Ohio Commercial Driver License Manual. This manual sets forth rules regarding CDL testing, driving safely, transporting cargo and passenger safely, operation of tanker cars, use of airbrakes, transportation of hazardous materials, and other specific topics.
In addition to state and federal regs and the CDL manual, there may also be pertinent industry standards set forth in the training, maintenance and employee manuals of the individual trucking company that employs the driver who caused an accident. In addition, there are “preventability manuals” published by the American Trucking Association, the National Safety Council and the Federal Highway Authority that may provide some insight to the cause of an accident.
Lawsuits involving semi-tractor trailers often result in serious injury or wrongful death given the speeds at which these goliaths typically travel. Therefore, when investigating such cases, it is incumbent upon an accident lawyer to be familiar with all applicable standards that apply. While a truck accident is governed by traffic rules that are applicable to all, there are many other rules with which the driver and his/her employer must comply.
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