State and Federal Trucking Regulations in Illinois

Have you been injured in a serious truck accident in Chicago, IL? If you suspect the trucking company or truck driver was at fault, it’s important to consult a Chicago personal injury lawyer right away. Truck accidents are complex, and multiple parties may share liability. A careful investigation of your crash is necessary to identify how it happened and who is at fault. 

Many truck accidents are caused by violations of Illinois and federal trucking regulations. These laws are designed to prevent serious accidents. 

At Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys, we have decades of experience handling truck accident cases in Illinois. Contact our office at (312) 726-1616 for a free consultation with a Chicago truck accident attorney to discuss your case and how we can help. 

How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Truck Accident in Chicago, IL

How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You After a Truck Accident in Chicago, IL

Truck accident claims are complicated and could involve multiple parties who share liability. There are also overlapping state and federal regulations. If you are hurt in a truck collision, you need a Chicago personal injury attorney with experience investigating these cases. 

At Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys, we have decades of experience handling complex commercial truck accident cases in Chicago, Illinois. We’ve recovered more than $100 million on behalf of our clients. 

Our lawyers have been recognized as Super Lawyers and admitted to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We have also been ranked as one of the Best Law Firms in Chicago by Best Lawyers. 

When you hire our law firm, we will: 

  • Aggressively defend you against insurance company tactics
  • Perform a thorough investigation into your accident
  • Work with experts and gather evidence to prove liability 
  • Identify all parties who are liable for your damages
  • Calculate the full value of your current and future losses
  • Negotiate on your behalf to seek maximum compensation
  • Present your case to a jury if necessary

Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation with a Chicago truck accident lawyer. We will help you understand your legal options and give you the tireless representation you deserve.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations

The FMCSA is the federal agency responsible for trucking regulations and safety oversight. Here is an overview of federal trucking regulations.

Commercial Truck Driver Licensing

Federal law requires drivers to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate certain commercial vehicles. The FMCSA develops and issues standards for states to test and license CDL holders. States are required to issue a CDL only when the driver has passed specific skills and knowledge tests. 

Beginning in 2022, new drivers must complete the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program. It’s required to get a Class A or B CDL, upgrade from a Class B to a Class A CDL, or obtain a passenger, school bus, or HAZMAT endorsement for the first time.

Size and Weight Restrictions

Federal law limits the maximum gross vehicle weight and axle load allowed on interstate highways. Vehicle width and height are also limited on interstate highways and certain roadways. 

The general maximum weight limit for commercial motor vehicles is 80,000 pounds. A commercial vehicle cannot exceed 8.5 feet in width, 13.5 feet in height, or 53 feet in length. There are exceptions to the weight limit, such as hauling oversized equipment. 

Hours of Service Limitations

The FMCSA mandates the maximum amount of time a truck driver can be on duty. Hours of service rules cover driving time, number of rest periods, and the length of rest between driving. Hours of service regulations depend on whether the driver is carrying passengers or property. 

Since 2020, all fleets must have electronic logging devices to log drivers’ hours of service. 

Vehicle Maintenance and Inspections

Motor carriers and equipment providers must inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and equipment. All commercial vehicles and equipment should be in good working order if they are going to be operated. 

At the end of every workday, drivers are required to complete a vehicle inspection report to check for wear and tear or serious damage. Before starting a long haul or route, a driver must inspect the vehicle and sign off on the previous inspection report. 

A qualified inspector who is trained or certified must inspect the vehicle every 12 months. 

Registration Requirements

Commercial carriers are required to register with the FMCSA to obtain a US DOT number and/or MC number. A US DOT number identifies commercial carriers operating in interstate commerce. An MC number identifies carriers transporting regulated commodities for hire. An MC number is an Interstate Operating Authority

Insurance Requirements

The cargo weight and type determine the minimum insurance required by the FMCSA. Liability insurance of $750,000 to $5 million is required for freight and $5 million for passengers with a seating capacity of 16 or more. Household goods motor carriers and freight forwarders also need cargo insurance of $5,000 per vehicle and $10,000 per occurrence. 

Transporting Hazardous Materials

The FMCSA defines hazardous materials (hazmat) and how they must be transported. The FMCSA requires warnings the vehicle must display while transporting hazmat. Motor carriers must have appropriate documentation, including shipping papers and emergency response information. 

Refrigerated Truck Loads

Temperature-sensitive truckloads require specific temperature control for safe transportation. Federal regulations require specific temperature monitoring and control measures. 

Drug and Alcohol Testing

There are specific rules for drug and alcohol testing in many scenarios: 

  • Random testing
  • Pre-employment
  • After an accident
  • With reasonable suspicion
  • Return-to-duty testing

The U.S. Department of Transportation maintains the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This is a database of drivers with drug or alcohol violations. These drivers cannot operate commercial vehicles or perform safety-sensitive tasks. 

Illinois Trucking Regulations

Along with federal regulations, commercial carriers and truck drivers must follow state regulations.  

Size and Weight Restrictions

Trucks must meet size and weight restrictions set by the Illinois Department of Transportation. These rules set restrictions based on the truck’s route. Certain bridges and roadways may have special restrictions. 

Registration Requirements

Motor carriers operating exclusively within the state must register their vehicle in Illinois. Other motor carriers can obtain special plates through the International Registration Plan. 

Hauling Permits

The Illinois Department of Transportation issues special hauling permits. An overweight or oversized load permit exempts the vehicle from the federal bridge formula on Illinois highways. 

Schedule a Free Case Assessment With Our Experienced Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers

The above is only an overview of the complex federal and state regulations for the trucking industry. Unfortunately, violations of these laws are common. When drivers exceed hours of service limits or trucks are not inspected and maintained properly, a life-changing accident can be the result. 

We help truck accident victims pursue fair compensation for their injuries. If you have been hurt in a truck crash, Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys is here to help you. We will conduct a thorough investigation of your collision and look for violations of Illinois and federal regulations. This can be evidence of negligence to support your claim. 

Contact our law office today at (312) 726-1616 to schedule a free case review with a Chicago truck accident lawyer to discuss how we can help you.