The U.S. Department of Transportation and specifically, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry in the United States. Federal law defines commercial motor vehicles including trucks as vehicles over a certain threshold weight in the federal regulations and statutes. Schedule a consultation with a dedicated truck accident attorney for more information on Atlanta federal trucking laws and industry regulations.
Are Federal Trucking Laws and Industry Standards and Regulations Closely Related?
Atlanta federal trucking laws and industry regulations are closely related. Responsible operators and companies should seek to ensure a margin of safety over and above minimal compliance with the federal requirements. One example of the limited ban in the federal regulations on the use of mobile handheld devices such as cell phones by commercial motor vehicle operators.
Theoretically, it is permissible to use mobile devices if the phone or device can initiate a call with only one touch, and be used hands-free, such as with a Bluetooth headset. However, many companies completely ban the use of cell phones, which creates a margin of safety.
Studies show that even hands-free usage when speaking into a Bluetooth headset can significantly distract a driver from safely operating the vehicle. It is inherently difficult to monitor whether the operator faithfully uses only a hands-free device and never looks up a phone number, an app, or anything else on the phone while operating the vehicle.
Examples of Companies Complying with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
Since the Atlanta federal trucking laws and industry regulations found in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are far-reaching, there are many examples of companies complying with them. The regulations cover a wide variety of safety issues related to trucks, operators, company processes, maintenance, and the qualifications of drivers.
For example, when it comes to driver qualification, the company must inquire about specific qualifications and the driver’s past commercial professional driving experience and history including prior accidents and tickets. The driver also must pass a physical. Also, a driver cannot be hired if they have certain criminal convictions in the past.
Equipment requirements stipulate that the trucks must be maintained and inspected. Logs of hours must be kept by the driver that show they comply with hours of service requirements. For example, drivers cannot drive more than a specific number of hours a day or on consecutive days.
What Insurance Coverage do Trucking Companies Need in Atlanta?
Insurance coverage requirements for trucking companies depend on the nature of the truck. For example, higher limits are required for trucks carrying hazardous materials and passenger buses. Generally, most commercial motor vehicle policies provide at least a $1 million limit. There are lower limits for intrastate vehicles, and higher required limits for certain commercial vehicles, such as those transporting hazardous materials.
Changes in Mandatory Liability Coverage
The mandatory liability coverage changes depending on whether the freight being transported is hazardous or non-hazardous. A significantly higher threshold of minimum coverage is required for hazardous materials.
Creation of Atlanta Regulatory Standards
Regulatory standards are created through a process of federal agency rulemaking. A notice is sent to the public and groups that are interested in the proposed rule and then a comment period is held. Officials may accept feedback for a period of time. Comments from the public are reviewed before a final rule is published in the Federal Register which then goes into effect on a set date.
U.S. Trucking Laws Required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
The Atlanta federal trucking laws and industry regulations are a compilation of the regulations of the FMCSA that apply to the trucking industry in the United States. The responsible party or parties for the trucking company must sign and certify their familiarity with these rules and their agreement to abide by all the rules.