What Regulations Do Truck Drivers Have to Adhere to in North Carolina?

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Sadly, truck accidents occur quite frequently in North Carolina and across the U.S. In fact, accident statistics compiled by the NHTSA indicate that annual truck accidents resulting in injuries are on the rise. Our truck accident lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ have spent more than 65 collective years assisting families of victims of truck accidents. North Carolina transportation laws and regulations frequently have a significant impact on how these cases turn out. As a result, many of our clients want to know what laws and rules truck drivers in North Carolina are required to abide by. Here at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters, ’ we will examine your accident’s circumstances, assess how North Carolina trucking regulations may be relevant, and assist you in choosing the appropriate legal strategy for pursuing financial compensation if you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident and have sustained injuries.

A truck driver is safely operating his truck.

North Carolina Truck Driver Regulations

Commercial vehicles that transport people or goods are subject to state and federal legislation in the United States. North Carolina requires commercial truck drivers to abide by several federal and state laws and regulations. The leading organization in charge of regulating the trucking sector is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The FMCSA enforces regulations on a variety of topics, including the number of hours a truck driver is permitted to travel, the labeling requirements for hazardous materials, the overall size and weight limits of various vehicles, and more.

All trucking businesses in North Carolina are required by law to operate trucks in accordance with all applicable federal and North Carolina laws. Therefore, it is usually considered negligence when federal or North Carolina trucking laws are broken. Any business truck crossing state lines is subject to the laws of the interstate. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has developed regulations that are in compliance with these statutes, which the U.S. Department of Transportation supervises. On the other hand, commercial trucks that operate and deliver goods inside of one state are subject to intrastate traffic legislation.

North Carolina state laws apply to any truck that only travels through North Carolina. In addition, with a few exceptions, North Carolina has joined most states in adopting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Motor carriers are examined by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) to ensure they comply with the rules and laws governing the trucking business. Additionally, they carry out truck accident investigations and support initiatives for public safety on the roads and accident prevention.

The federal government’s truck laws and those of North Carolina differ in a few specific ways.

For instance, in North Carolina, intrastate truckers will have differing requirements for drivers and work hours. The minimum age for any driver who is not transporting hazardous materials is 18. Several North Carolina trucking laws are less stringent when it comes to hours of service than the federal regulations. This is not a complete list. You can get advice on what truck laws and regulations might apply in your case from an expert truck accident lawyer.

Trucking in North Carolina is governed by the following rules:

  • Truck drivers are not permitted to operate a vehicle for more than 12 hours after taking eight consecutive hours off.
  • According to the driver’s previous seven days of operation, they are not allowed to work more than 70 hours in a seven-day period or 80 hours in an eight-day period.
  • Learn more about North Carolina trucking regulations here.

Rules for reporting truck accidents in North Carolina include:

  • The Public Service Commission must be notified within 24 hours if there are any fatalities in the accident.
  • Within 15 days after the accident, the Public Service Commission should be notified if there were no fatalities.
  • All accidents must be reported to the Public Service Commission within 30 days.
  • The federal standards are identical to North Carolina’s reporting requirements for truck accidents. Any commercial truck driver involved in a severe collision must contact the local police right away.

Some of the numerous trucking laws that truck drivers and businesses must follow are included in the above list. However, this list does not claim to be exhaustive.

Rules and Regulations for Truck Drivers

The state Department of Transportation is responsible for enforcing highway transportation laws and regulations. Just like in any other state they pass through, every commercial driver must be familiar with the state’s traffic laws. Although weight restrictions and other criteria are usually the same across the country, certain states, including North Carolina, also have their own special legislation. One such legal rule pertaining to truck drivers is the pure contributory negligence standard. Pure contributory negligence states that no driver who causes a collision and sustains personal injuries can receive compensation if they are even only 1% at fault. This gives the truck driver the upper hand in an accident, even if they are breaking the law, which a truck accident lawyer often has to discover through investigation. Additionally, local law enforcement agencies routinely look into incidents that happen within their jurisdiction and have the right to cite commercial truck drivers when infractions are discovered. To help establish culpability and assess whether a claim for compensation for their client is valid, each party in every case of this kind will typically need the expertise of an experienced truck accident attorney.

Commercial Vehicle Types

Businesses and manufacturers often hire commercial truck drivers to ship their goods across the country. There are varying weight limits for different types of container trucks and carrier vehicles. Overloading is a common cause of accidents involving commercial vehicles, even though it’s not always clear at first. Flatbed trailers and other hauling equipment can potentially carry cargo that was improperly secured at the place of origin, only for it to come loose and shift while being transported. Major accidents frequently occur when cargo is not adequately secured.

The Department of Motor Vehicles

Another state agency with oversight responsibilities is the North Carolina DMV. In addition to establishing requirements for the minimal level of liability insurance that commercial trucks must possess, they also call for certain licenses for drivers of commercial vehicles. The current cap is $750,000, which implies that in most accident cases, injured victims who were not at fault can get full compensation. This cap applies to heavy trucks and other commercial vehicles of similar size and weight. All accident cases in North Carolina center on fault and liability. Due to the high bar for proving an accident injury claim, truck accident claims are routinely vigorously defended.

Always keep in mind that the oversight authorities may not always conduct full investigations into truck accidents in North Carolina due to staffing limitations. As a result, obtaining compensation for your injuries frequently necessitates engaging an aggressive and skilled truck accident attorney who can carry out an independent investigation on the client’s behalf and spot issues that can point to the truck driver’s complete liability. These are often complex situations, so the truck accident lawyer you select needs to be well-versed in the laws that apply to commercial trucking.

North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been injured by a big truck, do not hesitate to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ by calling (800) 529-0804 or contacting us online to schedule your case evaluation today. An experienced truck accident lawyer will represent you in negotiations with the insurance company, explain your legal rights, respond to your inquiries, and seek the best possible outcome for your case. In addition, at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ you owe us nothing unless we win.