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What Are the Federal Trucking Regulations and How Do They Affect Oklahoma Truckers?

Trucking regulation attorney

Largely because of the danger that large commercial vehicles present to other motorists, the U.S. Government maintains strict regulations on travel and transport of goods within the trucking industry. These laws are in place to keep us safe, and restrictions often prohibit unlicensed drivers from operating certain classes of vehicles for this very reason.

In Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas, truckers must obey the federal regulations as well as those put forth by the state. These rules govern aspects of vehicle maintenance like size, weight per axel, hours of operation and more. When truck drivers or their employers fail to adhere to these important road rules, serious truck accidents are more likely to occur.

The trucking industry is governed by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The massive semis and 18-wheelers we see on roads and highways must obey the following FMCSA rules to be in compliance with federal standards:

  • Truckers may not drive for longer than 11 hours without a 10-hour rest break
  • Drivers cannot drive a 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty from a 10-hour rest break
  • A driver cannot operate their vehicle for more than 60-70 hours within a 7-8 consecutive days
  • Drivers who use a sleeper berth must take at least 8 consecutive hours rest in the berth
  • Gross vehicle weight may not exceed 80,000 lbs.
  • Trucks may carry up to 20,000 lbs. per axle

In addition to federal standards, Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) maintains certain size and weight restrictions for commercial vehicles.

Legal Dimensional Limits

Length of 53; width of 86; height of 136.

Overweight and Oversized Loads

Travel for overweight or oversized loads is restricted to ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour after sunset.

Loads with an overall height of 15 feet and 9 inches are required to be accompanied by two escort vehicles, on in the front and one in the rear. This always requires an Oversized Load sign to be hung on the rear of the load or the towed vehicle, whichever extends the farthest.

Regulations governing Texas commercial vehicles are set by Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). To be in compliance with state standards, commercial vehicles must maintain proper permits.

Legal Dimensional Limits

Length of 59; width of 86; height of 14; overhang of 3 in the front, 4 in the rear.

Overweight and Oversized Loads

Travel for overweight or oversized loads is restricted to ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour after sunset.

Escorts are needed for shipping overweight, oversized and wide load, or super loads in Texas. This applies to any vehicle with a length exceeding 110, a width of 16, and a height of 17.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) maintains trucking laws and regulations to help keep drivers safe. Permits are available for overweight or oversized loads.

Legal Dimensional Limits

Length of 536 (trailer length); width of 86 (on roads less than 12 wide); height of 136; overhang 3 in front.

Overweight and Oversized Loads

Travel for overweight or oversized loads is restricted to ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour after sunset.

Escorts are needed for shipping overweight, oversized and wide load, or super loads in Arkansas. This applies to any vehicle exceeding 75 (one rear escort,) or 1120 (one front and one rear escort); a width of over 12 (one front escort); and a height of over 15 (one front pole escort.)

How Do Regulations Prevent Accidents?

Following FMCSA and Oklahoma state regulations is crucial to prevent unnecessary collisions, injuries and deaths. In general, these rules help to prevent accidents in a number of ways:

They ensure drivers are not operating while fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol; they make certain the driver of a certain vehicle class has the knowledge and experience necessary to operate their truck; and they reduce the risk of carrying a load that is too big for the rig.

Liability in Big Rig Accidents

Collisions involving commercial vehicles can be complicated. Contacting an attorney who is familiar with federal motor carrier safety regulations as well as state trucking laws and regulations can help you determine who is liable for your accident.

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, there may be multiple causes, or multiple parties whose negligence contributed to your injuries. A skilled lawyer will investigate the cause of your accident and discover whether the driver is at fault, or if there are other factors, such as defective equipment or negligence on the part of the truckers employer.

Survivors of truck accidents can also bring a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one who died in the wreck. Filing a wrongful death claim or an injury claim will help victims recover much-needed compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, funeral costs and more.

Get Help for Your Truck Accident Today

The Edwards Law Firm is available to help answer your legal questions now. You deserve justice for what was taken from you. Our truck accident attorneys have the compassion and intelligence that you need when fighting for your rights.

Call The Edwards Law Firm for a FREE case review today at 800.304.9246 or fill out our online evaluation form.



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