18-wheelers and their drivers are subject to many state and federal regulations designed to keep roadways as safe as possible. But what about the thousands of smaller trucks and vans that hit the road every day? Are the trucks, vans, and trailers used by cable companies, plumbers, lawn maintenance companies and dozens of other businesses covered by the same safety regulations?
Are Smaller Commercial Vehicles Covered?
The answer, quite often, is yes. But there are several factors that need to be examined in every case.
An agency called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates and oversees commercial motor vehicles. A commercial motor vehicle is simply a vehicle that is used in the course of conducting business. So the FMCSA oversees smaller vehicles as well as large 18-wheelers. States, including Texas, have their own laws about who can drive commercial vehicles as well. Any business that uses commercial vehicles must obtain the right permissions from federal and state authorities.
Which Vehicles Are Covered?
Businesses that operate commercial vehicles that alone (or combined with a trailer) weigh more than 10,001 pounds are required to follow the FMCSA’s trucking regulations. It is important to note that this weight limit is much less than the commercial driver’s license (CDL) weight requirement of 26,0001 pounds.
To illustrate, picture a cable company service truck. Maybe it weighs 11,000 pounds. This means that the employee driving the truck does not need a CDL license, because the truck weighs less than 26,0001 pounds. However, the driver must still follow the FMCSA’s safety regulations when operating the truck, because it weighs more than 10,001 pounds.
What Does this Mean for an Injured Person?
If you were injured in a crash involving a smaller truck or van that belonged to a business, your attorney will look closely at several things:
- Was the vehicle big enough that it was required to follow FMCSA standards?
- Was the vehicle so large that the driver should have had a CDL, and if so, did he/she have it?
- Did the driver and the business abide by all the federal and state rules for vehicles of this size?
- Were both the vehicle and driver insured properly?
The answers to questions like these can go a long way in determining what compensation an injured person may receive in a legal claim.
Reach Out to a Texas Truck Accident Attorney
If you were hurt in a crash involving a commercial vehicle of any size, please don’t hesitate to have your case evaluated by an experienced lawyer. The team at Ted B. Lyon & Associates would be happy to meet with you and make sure you understand your rights in this situation. Contact us today.