Why are federal and state laws important to case building for truck accidents in Nebraska?
Nebraska – June 6, 2021
The United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry to ensure standardized safety on U.S. Roadways. Many of these regulations involve driver actions including hours worked, proper licensure and training, periodic medical screening, drug, and alcohol use, along with other party restrictions for the transport of goods and services to include cargo loaders, maintenance personnel, truck and parts manufacturers, and trucking companies and owners. In many cases, it is difficult to pinpoint causes for truck accidents, as outside factors including weather, fatigued driving, other drivers and roadway conditions must be taken into consideration. When truck accidents occur and personal injury results, an attorney experienced with federal and state trucking regulations can help.
Commercial driver licensure (CDL) and records.
Truck drivers must undertake specialized training because of the difficult maneuverability and specialized mechanisms in big rigs and tankers, and many companies and insurance carriers require a commercial driver license (CDL) for employment and insurance coverage. A truck accident attorney can utilize a commercial driver record to reveal questionable driving patterns through ticketed repeat offenses including speeding, DUI, or improper maintenance of vehicles. Truck drivers can be disqualified, or have licenses suspended due to certain roadway incidents falling into:
Serious moving violations include:
- Speeding 15 or above over posted limits in Nebraska, and can have their license suspended for up to a year, following too closely, reckless operation, erratic lane changes, texting while driving, or driving a CMV without the proper clearances and licensing.
- Railroad violations that include ignoring railroad crossing restrictions through device or enforcement official, not slowing down when required to, failing to stop if tracks are not clear, stopping before clearing railroad grade crossing, inadequate undercarriage clearance and a complete failure to stop.
- Out-of-Service violations that violate a driver, or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting non-hazardous materials, or hazardous materials required to be placarded; and operating a vehicle designed to transport 18 or more passengers, including the driver.
Major violations include:
- A CDL holder convicted of a first DUI loses their license for a year in Nebraska. A second DUI conviction causes the permanent revocation of the CDL. Nebraska does not allow CDL holders to attend driver improvement courses to reacquire their license after suspension, or lessen their penalties.
- A “foreign” traffic violation is a violation that occurs in another state. Nebraska law allows its courts to include foreign violations when setting penalties. A CDL holder could be punished more severely for having a previous, out-of-state traffic conviction.
Federal CMV hours on duty restrictions.
Commercial motor operators that drive big trucks have restrictions for trucks carrying property cargo limited to maximum hours driven; minimum hours off duty; and required rest after 60/70 hour driving limit. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking, 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. Commercial motor vehicle drivers that are carrying people have more stringent restrictions. The United States Department of Transportation, 49 C.F.R. part 387, subpart A, assures insurance coverage in an amount equivalent to the minimum levels of financial responsibility set forth in those regulations.
Truck accident lawyers are skilled at identifying additional parties to an accident claim, separate from the truck driver, including trucking companies, mechanics, or manufacturers of a truck and/or parts, and understand the trucking industry and relevant regulatory laws. They can determine the best legal approach to individual cases such as mediation, arbitration or going to trial. Tractor trailer accidents involve multiple complex factors that require specific knowledge of the commercial trucking industry, extensive experience with Nebraska, and federal accident laws, and sophisticated investigative capabilities to collect evidence and analyze it to support a negligence claim by a skilled truck accident attorney.
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