The trucking industry is required to follow federal truck laws that are overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, there are state trucking laws that must also be adhered to by the truck driver and his/her employer.
State Laws for Truck Drivers in Colorado
One example where state laws may apply, is in regard to the transportation of hazardous materials. When there are violations, state law enforcement can issue citations. For instance, failing to obtain a permit for the transportation of hazardous materials can warrant a citation.
The truck driver may be given what’s called a penalty assessment notice. In addition to other types of information, it will include the nature of the violation and the penalty amount designated. This must be signed by the driver, which serves to not only have him or her agree to what is on the notice but also to appear in court if the penalty is not paid within 20 days.
Another state trucking law applies to acquiring a Commercial Driver License (CDL). This license is required when a driver is operating any vehicle carrying hazardous materials or one that is designed to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver). A CDL is also necessary when driving a motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 pounds or greater.
Trucking Laws Regarding Carrying Chains
Some states have a specific law regarding the use of chains that applies to travel on highways. Because of hazardous conditions during the winter months, trucks are required to carry chains when traveling throughout the state. Drivers must be aware of when they are required to actually use them, generally by roadside signage.
In Colorado, between September 1 and May 31, all commercial vehicles are required to carry chains on a specific segment of 1-70. It applies to drivers traveling between milepost 133 (Dotsero exit) and milepost 259 (Morrison exit). Since snowfall can come at any time during this time period, drivers must be prepared.
There are two levels that may apply, depending on conditions. The first is Chain Law Level 1, which requires any commercial vehicle with single drive axle combinations and four wheel drives to chain up. All other types of commercial vehicles should have chains or snow tires.
Under Chain Law Level 2 all commercial vehicles are required to chain up. Under both levels, the amount of snow covering the road will impact the enforcement of these laws.
Impact of State Truck Laws on a Truck Accident Claims
Both state and federal violations can impact a truck accident case. They could lead to not only citations being issued, but may be considered contributing factors or causes of an accident.
Let’s say a truck was not chained up when required. If the driver collides with a vehicle, it may indicate that failing to prepare for the slippery road conditions caused or contributed to the crash.
To learn more about filing a claim when injured in a truck accident, contact D.J. Banovitz. He can review the case and help victims of these accidents present proper evidence regarding adherence to truck laws and whether trucker violations were to blame for the accident.