Federal and State Rules and Regulations for Trucking Companies and Drivers in Georgia

Delivering and moving goods for purchase and materials for business is an essential process in any functioning economy. In the United States, a large percentage of that vital transportation is handled by over road truckers and trucking companies.

However, besides the benefit of keeping things moving in the economy, trucks can present a serious danger to people on the road. Despite being operated and maintained by licensed, trained professionals—serious accidents occur. Large loaded freight trucks are dangerous machines. Their inertia lengthens stopping distance, they have a tendency to jackknife, are prone to tipping, their tires often blowout, they have perilously large blind spots, and their impressive weight creates massive impact forces.

Trucking Accidents

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the federal agency charged with monitoring and regulating the trucking industry to protect the public, crashes involving large truck happen at a rate of around 160 per day in the United States. In 2013, there were over 58,000 such crashes reported. These reported accidents resulted in 38,120 injuries and 1,822 fatalities in 2013 alone.

Trucking is a business, and those involved are incentivized to move the most freight as fast as they can with the least expense possible. That means there is pressure to drive faster, drive longer, and to cut corners. Negligent choices on the part of truckers and trucking companies increase the risk to everyone else who has to share the road. This is why the industry is a heavily regulated one.

Regulations to Keep Travelers Safe

There are two main layers of regulation shielding the public from industry negligence and creating standards for sound operation. The first is the federal layer primarily overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A second, state administrative layer is overseen by the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

These agencies have isolated different factors that increase risk on the road. They have moved to limit their presence to, in turn, limit the amount of preventable crashes on the road. For example:

  • Driver fatigue- Situational attention wanes after many hypnotizing hours staring through a windshield. Hours of service are limited to force drivers to take the appropriate amount of rest between travel legs.
  • Drug screening and enforcement schemes- Commercial driver's licenses are less forgiving to those arrested for operating under the influence. Additionally, employers are required to randomly test their drivers for evidence of drug use.
  • Weight and length restrictions- Loads are required not to exceed certain weight ceilings. Trucks that are too heavy take too long to stop, create scenarios when loads can shift and become unstable, and tear up road surfaces.
  • Required maintenance- Mechanical failure is a frequent, and sometimes preventable, catalyst for roadway disasters. Regular inspections are mandated by law to monitor the road worthiness of all rigs before they make a delivery.

Despite all these, and many other precautions, trucking accidents continue in Georgia and throughout the country. This is often because regulations are ignored and company profits are prioritized over safe operation. This carelessness subjects all drivers to deadly hazards on our roads. At times like these, it is important for those harmed to demand full redress and accountability.

Contact a Georgia Trucking Accident Attorney

Personal injury litigation after a trucking industry is complex. It is further complicated by insurance companies, trucking industry lawyers, and complex regulatory overlay. If you or someone you know has been injured by a freight truck contact the Persons Firm by calling 770 424 5125 immediately for a free consultation.