State and Federal Trucking Regulations

Truck drivers are required to follow certain rules and regulations to keep the roads safe. When they violate these rules, accidents can result. If you were in a truck accident, you have rights. 

Our St. Louis truck accident attorneys at Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers can help you recover money for your medical bills and other damages. We have decades of experience handling truck accident claims.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team. We work on contingency in all injury cases. Call us at (314) 444-4444.

How Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After an Accident in St. Louis

How Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After an Accident in St. Louis

Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers was established in 2010 to help injured people across Missouri. Our St. Louis truck accident attorneys have over 100 years of combined legal experience representing accident victims.

Our firm has recovered over $100 million in injury compensation for our clients. We have recovered several six, seven, and eight-figure awards for truck accident victims, including:

  • A $22 million truck accident settlement involving a cement truck
  • A $17 million car accident settlement
  • A $5.5 million truck accident settlement

Contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation with an experienced injury lawyer. Let us help you hold the truck driver and trucking company accountable for your injuries.

How Often Do Trucking Companies Violate Trucking Regulations?

As of 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that the U.S. had almost 1.9 million motor carriers, a number that included trucking, bussing, and owner-operated companies. 

These companies operated a collective 38.9 million trucks in 2020 and employed almost 3.5 million drivers in 2021. In 2022, the FMCSA closed 3,513 enforcement cases

The list of cases, resulting in a total of almost $25 million in fines and penalties, was comprised of the following:

  • 3,358 actions against carriers, such as trucking and owner-operators companies
  • 73 cases against hazardous material carriers
  • 42 actions against hazardous material shippers
  • 19 actions against passenger carriers, such as bus companies
  • 14 cases against freight forwarders

Among the enforcement actions that were successfully closed, 60 trucking companies, three hazardous material carriers, and one hazardous material shipper were located in Missouri, but this number does not tell the whole story. Many violations were settled before the FMCSA brought forth an enforcement action. 

In 2022, the FMCSA conducted 12,496 investigations, and over 95% of these investigations found at least one violation, but Missouri companies fared slightly better than the national average. 

Out of 274 investigations in 2022, the FMCSA and Missouri Department of Transportation found 250 violations, meaning investigators found violations in slightly more than 91% of their cases.

What Do State and Federal Trucking Regulations Cover?

Both state and federal trucking regulations cover many aspects of the trucking industry, but federal regulations, in particular, govern all trucks that operate in interstate commerce

According to the FMCSA, interstate commerce involves trucks that:

  • Travel on interstate highways
  • Cross a state border, even if the origin and destination are in the same state
  • Cross an international border
  • Carry goods that originated from, or are destined for, another state or country

State trucking regulations and traffic laws both also govern trucks, which means that truck drivers must follow the regulations and laws of each state, even when they vary. 

For example, truck drivers must follow the Missouri law that restricts trucks from using the left lane in certain cities, even though truckers can use the left lane in areas that are just across the state line.

Federal Trucking Regulations

Federal trucking regulations cover a few specific areas, including:

Financial Responsibility

Federal regulations convey to trucking companies the amount of insurance or surety bonds they must have to operate. Under U.S. law, trucking companies must carry at least $750,000 in financial resources in case of an accident, but if their trucks carry any sort of hazardous material, the company might need to carry as much as $5 million.

Following a truck accident that was caused by the trucking company’s negligence, injured victims can file claims against the company, and these insurance policies and surety bonds will investigate and pay the claims.

Gross Weight

Federal law limits trucks to 80,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight, which includes the truck’s tractor, trailer, and cargo. Once you deduct the weight of the semi truck and trailer, the truck driver can carry roughly 40,000 pounds of cargo.

Drug and Alcohol Testing

Truck drivers must undergo random drug and alcohol testing. They must also take these tests following a tractor-trailer accident.

Missouri Trucking Regulations

Missouri state law, specifically, handles two main areas of regulation:

Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs)

The states issue CDLs, and Missouri is no exception, processing the paperwork to grant CDLs, such as medical forms, written tests, and road tests. The state can also suspend or revoke CDLs at any time because of a violation.

Overweight and Oversize Permits

When a truck falls under the federal maximum weight and size limits, it can pass through Missouri without any special permits, but should those factors exceed the federal limits, its driver must apply for a permit from every state they intend to travel through.

Missouri examines all applications for overweight and oversize permits and decides whether to issue or deny them.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our St. Louis, MO Truck Accident Lawyer

Trucking companies bear liability for their negligence in repairing, maintaining, operating, or loading their trucks. If a truck driver violates state and federal trucking regulations and causes an accident, the trucking company may be liable for the damages.Contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your truck crash and the injury compensation you can seek.