Trucking safety rules apply to small business trucks and vans. Commercial truckers who operate semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers must adhere to state and federal regulations to keep the roads safe for all motorists. Small business-owned smaller commercial trucks and vans that travel the same routes to provide goods and services also have to follow the same regulations?
All commercial vehicles must abide by the laws, ordinances, and regulations of the state in which it is being operated. Furthermore, they should also adhere to the high standard of care imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a US trucking regulatory agency that oversees the safe operations of all commercial motor vehicles.
Does FMCSA Cover Small Business Trucks and Vans?
All commercial vehicles that meet one of the following guidelines are subjected to FMCSA laws:
- The vehicle weighs over 10,000 pounds alone or in combination with a trailer.
- The vehicle is designed or used to transport 9 to 15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation.
- The vehicle is designed or used to transport 15 or more passengers (including the driver) even if it is not for compensation.
- Any vehicle that transports hazardous materials.
Delivery trucks, vans, and buses can be considered commercial trucks if they meet the above criteria. Even a small business pick-up truck can be classified as a commercial vehicle if its weight—alone or combined with a trailer—exceeds 10,000 pounds.
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Regulations for Commercial Trucks and Vans
The CFR § 392.1 states the different rules that must be followed by every driver, motor carrier, officer, agent, employee, and representative responsible for the operation, driving, maintenance, and management of commercial motor vehicles.
Here is an overview of some of them:
- A commercial motor vehicle operator is not allowed to drive the vehicle if their alertness or ability has become impaired due to illness, fatigue, or another reason. Exceptions are permitted in emergency cases where the commercial motor vehicle occupants are in harm’s way or an ill or fatigued operator can continue driving to the nearest safe location.
- Drivers are barred from operating commercial motor vehicles under the influence, possession, or use of drugs or other substances.
- Drivers are not allowed to use or be under the influence of alcohol within 4 hours of operating a commercial motor vehicle.
- Drivers must conform to the speed limits prescribed by the jurisdiction of the area where the commercial motor vehicle is operating.
- The cargo inside a commercial motor vehicle must be appropriately distributed and sufficiently secured. The load must not block the driver’s view of the road or interfere with their movements.
- A driver should not operate a commercial motor vehicle used for interstate commerce without safety registration and a USDOT number.
Do All Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Need a CDL?
In most cases, a driver only requires a CDL to operate a commercial motor vehicle that weighs over 26,000 pounds. There are many commercial vehicles between 10,000 pounds and 26,000 pounds whose drivers will not require a CDL unless:
- It transports at least 16 passengers (including the driver)
- Is carrying hazardous material
Some commercial motor vehicles that may be operated without a CDL, provided it weighs over 10,000 and under 26,001 pounds and does not meet any of the above requirements, include:
- Utility van or pick-up truck attached to a trailer
- Step van
- Bucket truck
- City delivery truck
- Super duty pick-up
- Beverage trucks
- Medium-duty commercial truck
- Rack truck
Our Team Could Help if a Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Injured You
If you were injured by a small van or truck that appears to belong to a small business, we could help. Our attorney will look at various factors to determine whether the other party’s vehicle constitutes a commercial motor vehicle. We can do the following for you:
- Investigating the size and cargo load of the truck to see if it was required to abide by FMCSA laws
- Assessing whether the vehicle was large enough for the driver to require a CDL (if so, we will verify if the driver had one while driving the vehicle)
- Assessing whether the driver followed all state and federally imposed regulations appropriate for the vehicle size
- Assessing if the driver and vehicle had sufficient insurance coverage
If a commercial motor vehicle was responsible for the crash and your injuries, you might be able to pursue compensatory damages. The negligent driver and the small business under which they worked could be liable.
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Contact Issacs & Isaacs Personal Injury for Help Seeking Compensation
If you or a loved one suffered damages in an accident involving a truck or van of any size, reach out to us. Our truck accident attorneys can pursue fair compensation from liable parties, possibly including the small business.
Reach out to Issacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers for your free consultation session to understand your legal rights, options, and the actual value of your case. We serve clients throughout Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.