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Safety Rules for Commercial Vehicle Operation Part 2

I’m David Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss personal injury law topics.

As noted in our last podcast we often are faced with having to educate people serving on a jury about the safety rules governing commercial motor vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations set out the rules that deal with commercial vehicle operation.

In our last podcast we noted that the regulations apply to all motor carriers. Which is any person who owns or leases a commercial motor vehicle.

A motor carrier employee is any individual employed who in the course of his employment directly affects commercial motor vehicle safety. This definition is broad and covers independent contractors hired to drive, as well as mechanics working on the vehicles.

A commercial motor vehicle includes a tractor trailer, a straight truck weighing over 10,001 pounds, and some other vehicles weighing over 10,001 pounds.

Some of the more demanding rules deal with only heavy trucks weighing 26,001 pounds.

For the heaviest of trucks, a CDL is always required, log books are generally required, and drug and alcohol testing is required.

Let’s take a closer look at the requirement to maintain a driver’s qualification file.

A motor carrier has to keep a file showing a driver’s qualification and, in that file, must be materials including:

  • – written application to be a driver
  • – proof that the motor carrier checked with previous employers
  • – 3-year driving history
  • – proof the driver meets minimum medical and physical qualification
  • – results of drug and alcohol screening
  • – road test results or other proof of driving competence
  • – and ability to read and speak English

As you can see, if a jury is made up of drivers who only operate cars and non-commercial trucks and pickups, trial will necessarily require witness testimony to educate them as to the safety rules governing commercial vehicles.

Our next podcast will delve into the requirement of commercial drivers to exercise extreme caution when the roadway presents hazardous conditions.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you are a victim of someone’s carelessness, substandard medical care, product defect, work injury, or another personal injury, please call (219) 736-9700 with your questions. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com.