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What regulations govern Virginia truck drivers?

Truck drivers are subject to numerous laws and regulations. Federal regulations enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as Virginia state laws, require safe practices with the goal of preventing truck accidents. These laws cover everything from how long a driver may drive before stopping to rest, to how a driver carries hazardous waste.

Drivers of large commercial vehicles must have commercial driver licenses under Virginia statutes. These drivers are subject to strict requirements regarding the length of time they may drive without rest, as well as the length of time they must rest following a long drive.

Drivers who transport hazardous materials are subject to specific safety regulations imposed by the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety. If an inattentive truck driver causes an accident leading to spillage of hazardous waste that injures another driver, the injured driver may be able to recover against the truck driver and his or her employer, as well as against the company responsible for shipping the hazardous materials.

Negligent truck maintenance is also covered by trucking regulations, as failure to properly maintain a commercial vehicle can present a tremendous danger. Federal trucking regulations require proper maintenance of air brake systems, and if a defective brake system or other component of a truck leads to an accident, a victim may be able to recover against those responsible for the maintenance of the commercial vehicle.

It is important to thoroughly investigate all the circumstances of an accident to ascertain whether a truck driver was in compliance with the applicable state and federal regulations and laws. Consulting an attorney with experience in commercial vehicle accident cases may help the victim of a truck accident identify what caused his or her specific accident.

Source: FindLaw, "Truck Accident Law: What You Need to Know," accessed Aug. 21, 2015

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