Trucking Laws & Regulations in North Carolina
Trucking is a highly regulated industry in North Carolina. Federal and North Carolina trucking regulations govern everything from driver licensing and how much rest drivers need before getting on the road to how companies must maintain and inspect their trucks. So, when a trucking accident happens, it could involve many different federal and state laws.
At The Law Offices of John Drew Warlick, P.A., we’ve helped clients and families throughout the area protect their rights after a trucking accident. With decades of experience and three generations of attorneys, we have the skills and the resources to pursue the justice that accident victims deserve.
For a free and confidential consultation, call us or contact us online today. We do not charge any fees unless we recover compensation in your truck accident case.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Requirements
When a truck is on the road, the driver and the trucking company need to make sure they’re complying with a wide range of commercial motor vehicle safety requirements. These cover every part of the vehicle’s design, operation, and maintenance from the moment it gets on the road to the moment it’s parked. Key ways that North Carolina and the federal government oversee motor vehicle safety include:
- Hiring, licensing, and qualification of drivers. Drivers need to have rigorous training and many hours of experience before they’re allowed to operate a big rig on the road. Beyond that, companies need to make sure that they’re hiring drivers who are up to the task. Through background checks and regular reviews, companies must ensure that the drivers they hire are qualified and competent to handle the enormous vehicles they drive.
- Rest and hours of service. Under the law, drivers can only drive a truck for so long without taking adequate breaks. For example, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes an 11-hour driving time limit after 10 hours off-duty. These rules help ensure that drivers are rested before getting on the road. Failure to follow the rules can result in fines from the government.
- Strict rules against use of drugs and alcohol. Like everyone else on the road, truckers are prohibited from operating with drugs or alcohol in their systems. In North Carolina, commercial truck drivers are considered intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04%. This is stricter than the standard for regular drivers, who are considered intoxicated if they have a BAC of 0.08%.
- Maintenance and inspection of trucks. Under FMCSA rules, all carriers must regularly and systematically inspect their vehicles. They also must keep detailed records of the inspections and repairs that their vehicles receive. Maintenance and inspection of vehicles is a critical part of truck safety. When carriers or truck drivers fail to honor the rules, dangerous accidents can result.
- Special rules on transporting hazardous materials. Federal and state rules strictly govern the transportation of dangerous materials. Drivers must have special licensing, vehicles must meet specific containment rules, and carriers must be permitted to do so. Hazardous materials present unique dangers to others on the road. If a truck carrying hazardous materials is involved in an accident, it can lead to injury and even death.
Commercial Truck Inspection Requirements
Under federal regulations established by the FMCSA, qualified inspectors must examine a commercial truck at least once per year. These inspections cover key safety features such as brakes, tires, steering, coupling devices, and many other essential truck systems. By reviewing these systems and complying with the North Carolina trucking laws, drivers and trucking companies do their part to keep the roads safe.
Unfortunately, inspectors can’t catch everything. Wear and tear can cause problems between inspections. That’s why it’s important for trucking companies to constantly monitor their fleets and for drivers to monitor their trucks while on the road. Without the appropriate inspection and care, truck maintenance issues can lead to an accident.
Commercial Truck Driver Licensing and Safety Requirements
The federal and North Carolina governments have strict rules on commercial truck driver licensing. These include special rules on what vehicles a truck driver can operate and how many hours of service they can engage in before they need to rest. Without the appropriate license, a truck driver is breaking the law and could cause an accident.
In North Carolina, there are several types of commercial truck licenses and endorsements that a driver could have:
- Commercial Class A, B, or C licenses. Commercial Class A licenses are required for any combination of vehicles with a weight of 26,001 pounds or more. Class B is required for a single vehicle that weighs more than this. Class C is used for vehicles that may not weigh as much but are used for transporting hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers.
- Endorsements also apply. In North Carolina, truck drivers need a special CDL endorsement to haul hazardous materials or to transport passengers, among other activities. These endorsements range from specialized licensing for transporting liquid materials to licenses for operating a school bus. Through these endorsements and restrictions, the government helps ensure that only drivers with appropriate training are on the road.
Talk to a North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer Now
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, speak with an attorney from The Law Offices of John Drew Warlick, P.A., today. Our dedicated attorneys understand how complex a truck accident can be, and we have the resources to investigate these tough cases. For three generations, our Jacksonville, N.C. truck accident lawyers have stood up for friends and neighbors throughout the region. Let us help you now
For a free consultation, call us or contact us online today.