Both the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) regulate commercial motor vehicle operations within Florida, including limits to vehicle height and weight, hazardous materials transportation, and CDL requirements. The state has specific laws and regulations regarding commercial trucking vehicles designed to promote safety on roads and highways.
Additionally. TheFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs the safety practices of commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate business. In general, the agency aims to minimize crashes, injuries, and deaths involving large trucks and buses. Their duties include establishing and enforcing regulations associated with driver credentials and hours of service limitations, vehicle maintenance and repair, and cargo loading and securement.
How Do the FDOT and FLHSMV Govern the Florida Trucking Industry?
The FDOT and FLHSMV regulate numerous aspects of the trucking industry in order to keep you safe. Some of these regulations pertain to drivers while others pertain to the vehicles themselves.
Notable examples include:
- Weight and size limits: Commerical trucks can be as small as a UPS van or as big as a 16-wheeler weighing 35 tons or more. With the wide array of wheel sizes, different combinations of axles, and varying lengths of the trucks themselves, a comprehensive set of regulations are required to cover any and all configurations.
- Safety equipment requirements: These include equipment such as functioning brakes, headlights, taillights, turn signals, mirrors, and reflective tape. It also includes regular inspections and maintenance of commercial vehicles to ensure they are safe to operate.
- Driver qualifications: Commercial truck drivers in Florida must hold a Commercial Driver License (CDL) and meet the minimum requirements to legally operate their vehicle.
- Hours of service regulations: Florida upholds the federal hours of service regulations established by the FMCSA.
- Drug and alcohol testing requirements: According to FL Stat § 322.63 (2018), “A person who accepts the privilege…of operating a commercial motor vehicle within this state shall…be deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to an approved chemical or physical test of his or her blood or breath for the purpose of determining his or her alcohol concentration, and to a urine test for the purpose of detecting the presence of chemical substances…”
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How Does the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Govern the Florida Trucking Industry?
Florida’s laws and regulations concerning the trucking industry are in addition to federal laws and regulations. The FMCSA is the baseline for all 50 states.
Among the primary trucking industry regulations established by the FMCSA are the following:
- Hours of service: These regulations limit the number of hours truck operators can drive on duty, which is 11 hours per day following a rest period of 10 consecutive hours, among other restrictions.
- Driver qualifications: Commercial vehicle operators are required to meet minimum qualifications, including age, language proficiency, and physical and mental fitness. Drivers must also pass a medical examination and hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- Vehicle maintenance: Motor carriers are required to routinely inspect, maintain, and repair their vehicles to ensure safety when operating and keep relevant, detailed maintenance records.
- Hazardous materials: These regulations establish requirements for the transportation of hazardous substances by commercial motor vehicles, including labeling and packaging standards, operator training, and emergency response protocols.
- Electronic logging devices (ELD): Commercial vehicles are required to include electronic logging devices to record drivers’ hours of service to ensure adherence to federal regulations and increase safety by lowering the risk of fatigue-related accidents.
How Do Florida’s Trucking Industry Laws and Regulations Affect Negligence and Liability in Auto Accidents?
In most personal injury cases, the party at fault for the accident will be considered liable for resulting injuries, property damage, and other losses. Proving liability requires establishing that the party or parties were guilty of negligence, meaning they were careless or reckless in their actions or inactions, and this resulted in harm inflicted upon others.
When a commercial vehicle operator, driver, loading company, or other entity fails to adhere to state or federal laws and regulations, this may be considered a form of negligence and serve as evidence that can be used to pursue compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit.
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Consult With The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for Help With a Truck Accident
If you or a loved one were injured in an auto accident due to the negligence of a truck driver or company, reach out toThe Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today to receive a free case review. One of our personal injury attorneys can help determine whether the other driver or their employer violated state or federal laws or regulations or committed other acts of negligence. You might be entitled to substantial compensation for the losses you’ve suffered, including medical bills and lost wages. Contact us to learn more about your legal rights and options.
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