If you’ve been hit by a truck that is large enough that it qualifies as a commercial vehicle, special rules apply. Those rules, developed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and known as the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), can make the truck responsible for crash when you might think it’s not responsible under just ordinary motor vehicle laws.
Here are subject matters and situations that govern trucks by specific rules:
A – Unsafe backing of a tractor-trailer
B - Failure to maintain a proper lookout in order for the truck driver to see ahead
C – Following too closely
D – Lane changes
E – Crossing traffic
F – Stopping on the side of the roadway
G – Not providing adequate stopping distances for the speed of the truck
H – Not adjusting speed and stopping distances for nighttime driving
I – Driving in wet or icy conditions
J – Driving in fog
K – Using alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance while driving or before driving
L – Driving too many hours without rest
These are just some of the rules that apply when our federal and state governments give drivers the right to drive commercial trucks on the same roads and at the same time as small passenger vehicles. It only makes sense that the rules would be different. Make sure that you and anyone helping you with your case understand these critical differences.
One last thing – many people, including a number of attorneys, do NOT realize that commercial vehicles don’t have to be tractor-trailers in order to have these rules apply. Commercial vehicles are all vehicles with gross vehicle weight ratings or gross combination weights of 10,001 pounds or more. Work vans, heavy-duty pickup trucks with trailers, utility trucks, and landscaping, plumbing, and HVAC vehicles are just some of the trucks that are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's regulations.