Intrastate Trucking Regulations
Georgia highway safety statistics reveal between one and two hundred deaths each year in collisions involving a large truck, and the vast majority of those fatalities are the occupants of the other vehicle. The state legislature regulates trucking within the state, while the federal government makes rules for trucks traveling across state lines. Together, these rules and regulations impose safety requirements on trucks, truck drivers, and trucking companies to reduce car and truck crashes.Georgia adopts federal trucking rules
Interstate trucking is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the bulk of FMCSA regulations have been adopted by the state of Georgia for intrastate trucking as well. These regulations cover many aspects of the trucking industry, including:
- Maximum hours of service of drivers
- Driver standards and required training
- Alcohol and drug testing rules
- Inspection and maintenance routines
- Safety equipment required on-board
- Truck length, width and weight limits
Even though these regulations are adopted for safety, the trucking industry lobby has influenced these rules to maximize their profits. For instance, under the rules a trucker can be required to spend 11 hours behind the wheel in a 14-hour period. These 14-hour workdays can also extend for a seven-day workweek, not five or six days like most industries. Although the Georgia legislature could adopt stricter standards for intrastate commerce, they decided to stick with the minimum standards of the federal rules.
Georgia has also adopted special rules for the transportation of hazardous materials and for trucking of forest products. Federal rules were again adopted for transporting hazardous materials, while the Georgia Forest Products Trucking Rules provide specific regulations for haulers of lumber and unmanufactured forest products. These rules touch on:
- Inspection, repair and maintenance
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Commercial driver's license standards
- Required vehicle markings
- Qualification of drivers
- Lighting devices and vehicle reflectors
- Emergency equipment
- Top and side securement
- Tire covers and more
Trucking companies can face fines up to $15,000 for a willful violation of these rules, and an additional $10,000 per day as long as the violation continues. When a violation of the rules leads to a collision with an automobile or other trucking accident, the driver and the company can be liable to the injured party for medical expenses, pain and suffering, vehicle damage, and other legal damages. While Georgia law only requires semi-trucks to carry the minimum liability insurance of $100,000 per person or $300,000 per accident, many commercial carriers carry million-dollar policies to compensate victims of personal injury or wrongful death in tractor-trailer accidents.
The legal team at Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC knows the state and federal requirements for record keeping and logs and how to investigate whether trucking regulations were followed prior to a truck accident. If you have been injured in a collision with a semi-truck in Atlanta, Decatur, Marietta and surrounding areas, contact our law firm today at (404) 460-0101 for a free consultation with experienced and knowledgeable Georgia truck accident attorneys.