With its location in Prince George’s County, bordering Montgomery County and Washington, D.C., Chillum sees a solid flow of large trucks passing through its neighborhoods into other parts of the region and north, south, or west into other states. This influx of truckers means that motorists have to be on high alert when sharing the road with these big rigs so as to not become involved in a crash.
Each Chillum truck accident lawyer in our office has witnessed just how important this is first-hand, as we often represent clients who were severely injured because tractor-trailer operators failed to follow state and federal regulations they were obligated to.
If you suspect that a trucker who struck you or a close family member didn’t adhere to government-imposed requirements, and this played a role in causing the crash and injuries you suffered, contact our office immediately to speak with an attorney regarding what happened to you.
That initial consultation is completely free, with no-strings-attached, giving you the opportunity to learn about the rights Maryland law affords you when you’ve been hurt due to someone else’s negligence.
How Intrastate and Interstate Trucking Differ
Some operators, like short-haul truckers, keep it local, never venturing more than two or three hours away from home or their hub. They rarely cross state lines, and almost always return to their own bed each night.
These truckers may operate tanker trucks, box trucks, and other smaller vehicles in addition to tractor-trailers. This description most aptly describes an intrastate trucker.
By contrast, there are other truckers who might haul loads regionally, say from Maryland to a couple of states over, or even from one from one side of the country to the other. These individuals most often operate tractor-trailers as opposed to other types of trucks, and the truckers that operate these 18-wheelers generally venture out on their journeys for several days or perhaps even for weeks at a time.
How Short and Long-Haul Truckers Are Subject to Different Regulations
If you’re wondering why we spent time distinguishing between interstate and intrastate truckers above, it’s because they’re subject to different regulations, which may impact determinations surrounding the cause and liability for your crash.
Examples of regulations that apply differently to interstate versus intrastate include:
- Securing Department of Transportation (DOT) numbers: Long-haul truckers who will be crossing state or country borders must secure USDOT numbers, which you’ll often see clearly displayed on the driver’s door of their vehicle. In contrast, Maryland requires any buses, tractor-trailers, and trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds that do not travel beyond our state’s borders to secure MD DOT numbers and display them on their vehicles.
- Cargo hauling weight limits: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) doesn’t allow states to set significantly different weight limits for truckers traveling along interstates from what the federal regulators would set them at. However, some trucks are exempt from federal weight limitations.
- Traveling along certain roadways: The FHWA resource mentioned above mentioned how a truck’s weight and the number of axles it has can determine whether certain trucks can travel on certain road types. Also, the Maryland Department of Transportation publishes a Maryland Truckers’ Map, which highlights different local roads prohibiting trucks, and Maryland Route Restrictions, which highlights which of our state’s roadways limit certain sized vehicles or ones carrying certain types of loads.
- Trucker rest break requirements: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations restrict truckers to driving only 11 hours per day and spend no more than 14 hours on duty. The federal government also limits truckers to working between 60 and 70 hours, depending on whether they work seven or eight days, and also requires truckers to take at least 10-34 hours off before returning to duty. Intrastate truckers, in contrast, may be subject to other shift and break requirements.
- Trucker age requirements: Intrastate truck operators must be at least 18, whereas interstate ones must be at least 21 if they wish to secure a learner’s permit for a commercial driver’s license per the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.
How Local Minimum Insurance Requirements Impact Truck Crash Settlements
Another key difference between state and federal regulations regarding the trucking industry are the mandatory minimum insurance requirements.
Those operators subject to federal guidelines, like interstate truckers, have an obligation to carry between $750,000 and $1,000,000 in liability insurance.
The amount of insurance coverage intrastate carriers must maintain largely depends on the type of load they’re carrying. For example, the liability insurance minimum limit is:
- $300,000 for trucks carrying household goods
- $750,000 for big rigs hauling general freight
- $1,000,000 for tractor-trailers carrying oil
- $5,000,000 for commercial carriers hauling hazardous materials
These limits matter if you’ve been hurt in a crash with a big rig, as they dictate how much you can recover when serious injuries affect you or you lose a loved one. The higher the limits are, the more you can potentially recover for current and future medical costs, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses.
How Chillum Truck Accident Attorneys Help Injury Victims Build Stronger Cases
Many investigations into semi-truck crashes focus on what type of reckless driving a trucker engaged in, a manufacturer producing an unsafe vehicle or defective parts, a loader unsafely packing cargo in a trailer, or other negligence along these lines.
At GDH Law, we also look beneath the surface at other contributing factors that led to the crash’s occurrence.
You can count on any Chillum truck accident lawyer at our firm to look beyond the obvious and identify alternate factors contributing to wrecks, things like failures to adhere to the appropriate trucking regulations listed above.
Doing this allows us to help you to hold all potential parties liable for their wrongdoing.
Our work together begins with a conversation about what happened leading up to your crash. We can discuss those details during your free initial consultation with an attorney in our office. Schedule that meeting by calling or messaging our law office today.