Trucking Regulations and Laws – Washington DC and Federal

Involvement in a truck accident is almost always a life-altering event, causing serious injury or even death to the drivers of the smaller vehicle. It can be imperative to have a highly skilled truck accident attorney by your side from the very start after your truck accident. For many reasons, a truck accident can be incredibly complex, and has the potential to be a far greater catastrophe than a normal passenger vehicle collision. Truck accident attorneys must be experienced in the broad, yet extremely complex laws, which govern large commercial trucks. There are federal and state laws governing large commercial trucks, and the attorney must be cognizant of both.

Large Commercial Truck Regulations in Washington D.C.

In 2011, over $21 billion in domestic goods were shipped within, to and from the District of Columbia. Obviously, as in other states, movement of freight is crucial to the economy and to our overall quality of life. As the population increases, it is a given that freight demand will also increase; therefore, officials have developed a Final District Freight Plan which summarizes future freight transportation strategies. Currently, Washington D.C. has certain restrictions on the size of large commercial trucks, including the following:

• The truck must be no wider than eight feet, or eight feet six inches for buses with a carrying capacity of more than fifteen passengers.
• The height of the truck cannot exceed thirteen feet, six inches.
• The length of a large commercial truck cannot exceed forty feet for a single-unit vehicle and fifty-five feet for semi-trailers and combination vehicles, while buses may not exceed sixty feet in length.
• The truck may not exceed 21,000 pounds on any one axle, or a total of 84,000 pounds.

Unless making a delivery, large commercial vehicles traveling on restricted streets may be subject to a fine, therefore it is important that out-of-state truck drivers know their destination and their route prior to entering. The District of Columbia also has idling laws governing large commercial trucks as an environmental consideration. Commercial trucks are allowed to idle no more than three minutes in Washington D.C., or five minutes when the temperature is below thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit. In most other cases, large commercial trucks are bound by Federal legislation, which governs hours of service, among other issues.

Truck Driver’s Current Hours of Service Rules

As of the summer of 2013, the federal hours of service for large commercial truck drivers was changed to reflect the following:

• Truck drivers may only drive a total of eleven hours following ten consecutive hours off-duty.
• Truck drivers are not allowed to drive past the 14th consecutive hour after ten consecutive hours’ off-duty.
• Truck drivers are only allowed to drive if eight hours have elapsed from the last off-duty period of at least half an hour.

Drivers of large commercial trucks are held to a higher standard than other drivers due to their ability to cause such destruction in the event of an accident. Because the majority of truck drivers are under a tremendous amount of pressure to deliver loads quickly, sometimes state and federal rules are not followed as carefully as they should be. An experienced truck accident attorney can determine whether the driver responsible for your accident followed those rules or not, and can be an advocate in your corner, consistently protecting your rights.

Contact Knowledgeable Trucking Accident Lawyers

At Patrick Malone & Associates, our trucking accident lawyers are prepared to fight aggressively for injured trucking accident victims in the Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland can be. We know how difficult it can be to secure compensation after such a catastrophic accident, and we can help. Our Washington DC trucking accident lawyers work diligently from the very start to build a case that is designed to maximize compensation. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6645 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.

The trucking accident attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and other locations throughout Maryland and Virginia.