Truck Accident Laws
Washington, DC Accident Attorneys
Federal trucking laws apply in every state, but they apply to interstate trucks - trucks which travel in more than one state. Intrastate trucks, those which only travel within one state, are governed by state laws. State trucking laws are often the same or similar to the federal regulations.
What is intrastate trucking?
When a commercial truck only travels within its home state it is called intrastate trucking. Examples can include:
- Furniture and appliance delivery
- Local moving companies
- Concrete trucks
- Gravel haulers
- Logging trucks
- Some agricultural vehicles
State laws reflect federal regulations with some exceptions
State trucking laws are based on the federal regulations, but many states make some changes in their unique versions. Washington, DC uses Title 49, Parts 382-384 and 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These are some of the most basic regulations governing aspects of trucking such as:
- Commercial driver's license (CDL) requirements
- Hours of Service (HOS)
- Inspection and maintenance
- Qualifications for drivers
- Hazardous materials transportation
- Safety and health standards
- Safety equipment
Washington, DC has adopted these rules in their entirety. Maryland and Virginia have some specific exceptions.
Many states make exceptions for agricultural vehicles. Virginia and Maryland are among these states.
In Virginia, certain agricultural commercial drivers are exempt from HOS regulations, during the planting and harvest seasons and as long as they are traveling only within a 100 mile radius of the source of their cargo.
Maryland lets farmers off the hook on driver qualifications, if they are travelling within 150 miles of their farm.
Truck Driver Qualifications
Driver qualifications is another area where states are often more lenient, and especially for drivers who only travel a short distance. In Maryland, intrastate drivers who cannot meet the legal physical requirements for commercial driving may apply for a waiver. Virginia has a lowered age limit for their commercial drivers, requiring in-state drivers to be at least 18 years old, rather than 21.
If you have been involved in a tucking accident, determining whether the truck was and interstate or intrastate vehicle, and therefore, which laws will apply, is just one of the many aspects which make trucking accident lawsuits far more complicated than regular auto accident cases. If you have been involved in a trucking accident in Washington, DC, you need an experienced trucking accident attorney to help you navigate your case. Please contact one of our experienced trucking accident attorneys today.