Tractor Trailer Accidents

Schwaba Law Firm is commonly referred claims arising from tractor trailer motor vehicle accidents. Tractor-trailer and semi-truck accidents are often particularly severe crashes that lead to significant injuries and death. Tractor-trailer and semi-truck operators have heightened responsibilities as they drive due to the potential for serious injuries that may be caused by their failures. Tractor-Trailer and Semi-truck claims raise legal hurdles unique to these types of claims. It is best to have experienced counsel on your side that knows how to navigate successful recoveries in tractor-trailer and semi-truck litigation.

Commercial Motor Carriers are governed by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oversees the implementation and enforcement of the Regulations. A Commercial Motor Vehicle is one that weighs over 10,000 pounds, carries over 100,000 pounds, or carries hazardous materials.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the amount of driving semi-truck and tractor-trailer drivers may operate: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations For drivers carrying property, Commercial Motor Carriers operating tractor trailers and semi-trucks are required to keep a log of all of their driver’s activity. The activity log must document each drivers’ driving time, their rest breaks, and any resets. Drivers are not allowed to drive more than 60 hours in a 7 day timeframe, or 70 hours in an 8 day time period. Drivers can restart the 60/70 hour rule if they have had a 34 hour break. Also drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours in a 14 hour window, and must take a 30 minute break within an 11 hour timeframe. Drivers are required to have a 10 hours off duty.

Drivers carrying passengers have even more restrictive guidelines relating to rests and breaks. Passenger carrying motor carriers must adhere to a 10 hour limit of drive time after 8 consecutive hours off duty. They may not drive after 15 consecutive hours on duty.

Drivers operating tractor-trailers or semi-trucks are required to possess a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Special endorsements are required for drivers carrying double or triple trailers, carrying a tank, carrying hazardous materials, or carrying passengers. A CDL is issued by the resident state, not the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Generally, to earn a CDL, drivers must be at least 21, maintain a regular driving license, pass medical and vision requirements, pass road skills and a driving examination, pass a knowledge exam and be a US resident.