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South Carolina's Truck Safety Regulations

South Carolina's Truck Safety Regulations

When it comes to commercial vehicles, all truck drivers in each state must comply with the rules and regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCSA), and this includes South Carolina. The FMCSA was established in January of 2000 and is an agency within the Department of Transportation.

The FMCSA’s number one mission is to prevent injuries and fatalities associated with the commercial trucking industry. The FMCSA’s activities are aimed at improving safety in commercial motor carrier operations, and it accomplishes this by strictly enforcing safety regulations, increasing safety awareness, and targeting high-risk carriers.

To illustrate, on December 31, 2013, the United States Department of Transportation issued a press release entitled, “FMCSA Declares South Carolina Trucking Companies and Commercial Driver to be Imminent Hazards to Public Safety.” In this press release, two S.C.-based trucking companies underwent a federal shutdown after the FMCSA discovered that they were violating federal regulations.

In one of the cases, a truck driver was operating a tractor-trailer when he lost control of the truck, crossed the center lane, and collided with a passenger vehicle, killing the driver.

After the crash investigation, the truck driver was charged with numerous violations, including driving without a driver’s license, reckless driving, possessing alcohol, and operating a commercial vehicle while disqualified. Further, the FMCSA’s safety investigators found that the trucking company failed to:

  • Qualify its drivers
  • Comply with the federal hours of service (HOS) requirements
  • Comply with the drug and alcohol testing regulations
  • Routinely inspect, maintain, and repair its vehicles

As you can imagine, this truck company was a ticking time bomb, and it was only a matter of time before one of the drivers was involved in a crash whether such cause was due to driver negligence or a physical problem with an improperly maintained truck.

Federal Trucking Regulations

Commercial truck drivers in South Carolina and nationwide are required by federal law to abide by the federal trucking regulations, which address critical safety issues concerning medical qualifications, drug and alcohol testing, hazardous materials, cargo securement, and hours of service (HOS).

The federal regulations are essential to having a safe trucking industry, however, as described in the example above, not all trucking companies and truck drivers adhere to these rules. When egregious violations cause undue injuries or fatalities, the negligent truck driver or trucking company may be held liable for the victim’s damages, plus they face monetary fines and other penalties imposed by the FMCSA.

To learn more about state and federal truck safety regulations, contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC to arrange a free case evaluation. With a 10.0 Superb Avvo Rating and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau, you can rest assured that your truck accident case is in very good hands.


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