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Recent Changes in 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Laws In the USA

18-wheeler trucks, also known as semi-trucks or big rigs, are vital to the US economy. They transport most of the country’s freight. These big trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded and are the primary vehicle for transporting goods over long distances, from consumer electronics and perishable food items to raw materials and manufactured goods. 

The 18-wheelers are unbeatable in logistics, and therefore, they are needed to serve national commerce.

Nevertheless, the gigantic size and heavy weight of these trucks also make them significant safety hazards on the roads. Accidents involving 18-wheelers are more likely to lead to serious injuries and deaths than those involving smaller vehicles. This higher risk proves the necessity of strict laws and rules for the trucking industry.

Stricter rules have been followed before, but recent changes in 18-wheeler truck accident laws in the USA are also being made to keep the tucking system in the loop. 


Importance of Truck Accident Laws


According to the best 18 wheeler truck accident lawyer in san antonio, trucking laws hold their importance and are essential for several reasons:

Safety: Rules are introduced to ensure the safety of truck drivers and other road users. This involves legislation about speed limits, rest periods for drivers (to avoid fatigue), vehicle maintenance standards, and cargo securement rules.

Environmental Concerns: Trucks are also under the law to limit environmental damage. This implies the bans on emissions and the use of particular fuel or fuel additives, which are pollution reducers.

Road Maintenance: Trucks loaded with a lot of stuff can damage the roads and road infrastructure. Regulations help control this impact by providing weight limits and making sure that the freight is distributed in a way that will lessen the road damage.

Economic Efficiency: Trucking laws unify the operations in the whole industry, making logistics operations smoother and reducing delays in the delivery of goods.

These reasons are the basis for the fact that trucking laws are being reviewed and updated regularly. The latest revisions of these laws are mainly caused by the development of new technologies, the transformation of economic policies, the security of the people, and environmental issues. These modifications are meant to improve road safety even more, to speed up the work in the logistics sector, and to reduce the environmental impact of the transportation of freight.


Exploring the recent changes in 18-wheeler truck accident laws in the USA


The Newest Legislative Changes In Trucking Laws


Lately, there have been several amendments in the federal and state legislatures in order to achieve safety, efficiency, and the reduction of the environmental impact of the trucking industry. Here is a summary of key changes that have been enacted or proposed:


Federal Regulations


Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made it compulsory to use Electronic Logging Devices in place of paper logs. This modification intends to make the hours-of-service (HOS) recording more accurate so that drivers will not be tired, which is the main reason for accidents.

Hours of Service (HOS) Adjustments 


The new rules have made some changes to the HOS that give more flexibility to the drivers by changing the sleeper berth exception, which now allows drivers to split their 10 hours of off duty into two periods. This alteration is aimed at aiding drivers to have more control over their sleep routines and thus, fatigue will be reduced.  

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse  


The FMCSA has set up a national database that employers are required to use to find out if current and potential employees have drug and alcohol violations. This clearinghouse eliminates the possibility of drivers who have substance abuse problems being on the road with commercial vehicles. 

Speed Limiters


A suggestion to make speed limiters on heavy trucks mandatory has been put on the table again. The intention is to set the maximum speed to improve highway safety.  

State-Level Regulations


Weight Limit Modifications 


Several states have considered changing truck weight limits to allow trucks to carry larger loads without risking road safety. These modifications usually include permitting heavier or more axles, which will help distribute the weight more evenly. 

Green Initiatives


States like California have set strict emissions standards for commercial vehicles as part of their environmental programs. These standards may require new, clean engines or old trucks to be fitted with technology that can reduce emissions. 

Insurance Requirements


Some states have raised the minimum liability insurance threshold for trucking companies to make sure that the funds are available to pay for the damages in the event of an accident, which shows the high costs of trucking accidents. 


Exploring the recent changes in 18-wheeler truck accident laws in the USA


Impact on Liability and Compliance


The new recent change in the laws does have affected the trucking industry and the liability and compliance significantly. Here is how. 

  • ELDs are useful in precisely monitoring drivers’ service time, reducing the possibility of these drivers falling asleep while on the road. In the event of a truck crash, ELD data could help establish responsibility for the trucking company and its driver, as it clearly shows whether the trucking company and driver were complying with the HOS regulations.
  • The drug and alcohol clearinghouse database on the other hand in part controls liability by ensuring that any driver who has a record of substance abuse is not on the road if he has not received the necessary rehabilitation and has been cleared by the law to do so. Suppose a crash occurs and it turns out that the driver had a history of previous drug or alcohol offenses that were not listed on the Clearinghouse. In that case, the trucking company can be held responsible for their negligent hiring practice.
  • These new regulations have put in place stricter training requirements as such, trucking companies are now tasked with the duty of ensuring that all drivers have completed their required training and certification before they can operate a vehicle. This is the continuous training to ensure drivers are aware of the new laws and observe the safety standards.


  • Companies in states with strict emissions regulations usually undergo regular vehicle inspections to guarantee that trucks meet environmental requirements. Disobeying the regulations can lead to fines and great responsibility in case of accidents involving poor vehicle maintenance, and it can be proven that their maintenance is a contributing factor.

Contact Mokaram Law Firm Today!


Keeping up with the new changes in 18-wheeler truck accidents can be challenging. If you need the professional assistance of our attorneys at Mokaram Law Firm in figuring out the details of the trucking regulations and liability, call us at (281) 609-9224. We will ensure that your rights and interests are protected by the best legal professionals.


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