Georgia Truck Accident Injury Laws

By: Zack Hendon | Posted on: July 6, 2015 3:26 pm

As an accident attorney who spent years representing tractor trailer truck and insurance companies, Zack Hendon knows where to mine for gold in truck company records. In a perfect world these trucking companies would not violate federal safety rules. However, they do regularly violate these rules and in a serious truck accident injury, it is almost always worth filing a lawsuit against a negligent trucking company to compel the discovery of evidence of these violations through the use of the court’s subpoena power.

The Hendon Law Firm, LLC has the capability of getting the best settlement or verdict in your serious injury semi truck wreck case. If you have serious injuries or the death of a loved one caused by a trucking accident, your case may be worth millions of dollars and therefore it is vitally important that you choose one of the top Georgia truck accident attorneys.

1. Why do I need a Georgia tractor truck or semi accident attorney to handle my case rather than just any auto accident attorney?

There are a number of reasons you should hire a Marietta / Atlanta, Georgia truck accident attorney to handle your case. Yes, trucks do have to follow Georgia’s Rule of the Road but they are also subject to additional Georgia laws and federal laws and regulations. These safety regulations require the truck companies and their truck drivers to follow specific procedures and to keep documentation showing these procedures were followed. If you do not hire a top truck accident attorney such as Zack Hendon, the value of your semi truck case is being diminished before you start.

2. What are some of the motor carrier regulations which the truckers could violate which could affect the value of my case?

a. Regulations governing driver qualifications:

§ 391.11 General qualifications of drivers.

(a) A person shall not drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he/she is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle. Except as provided in §391.63, a motor carrier shall not require or permit a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle unless that person is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle. (b) Except as provided in subpart G of this part, a person is qualified to drive a motor vehicle if he/she–

(1) Is at least 21 years old;
(2) Can read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records;
(3) Can, by reason of experience, training, or both, safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he/she drives;
(4) Is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with subpart E–Physical Qualifications and Examinations of this part;
(5) Has a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued only by one State or jurisdiction;
(6) Has prepared and furnished the motor carrier that employs him/her with the list of violations or the certificate as required by §391.27;
(7) Is not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle under the rules in §391.15; and
(8) Has successfully completed a driver’s road test and has been issued a certificate of driver’s road test in accordance with §391.31, or has presented an operator’s license or a certificate of road test which the motor carrier that employs him/her has accepted as equivalent to a road test in accordance with §391.33.

b. Regulations governing the hiring of drivers including a driver qualification file:

§ 391.21 Application for employment.

(a) Except as provided in subpart G of this part, a person shall not drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he/she has completed and furnished the motor carrier that employs him/her with an application for employment that meets the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section.
(b) The application for employment shall be made on a form furnished by the motor carrier. Each application form must be completed by the applicant, must be signed by him/her, and must contain the following information:

(1) The name and address of the employing motor carrier;
(2) The applicant’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number;
(3) The addresses at which the applicant has resided during the 3 years preceding the date on which the application is submitted;
(4) The date on which the application is submitted;
(5) The issuing State, number, and expiration date of each unexpired commercial motor vehicle operator’s license or permit that has been issued to the applicant;
(6) The nature and extent of the applicant’s experience in the operation of motor vehicles, including the type of equipment (such as buses, trucks, truck tractors, semitrailers, full trailers, and pole trailers) which he/she has operated;
(7) A list of all motor vehicle accidents in which the applicant was involved during the 3 years preceding the date the application is submitted, specifying the date and nature of each accident and any fatalities or personal injuries it caused;
(8) A list of all violations of motor vehicle laws or ordinances (other than violations involving only parking) of which the applicant was convicted or forfeited bond or collateral during the 3 years preceding the date the application is submitted;
(9) A statement setting forth in detail the facts and circumstances of any denial, revocation, or suspension of any license, permit, or privilege to operate a motor vehicle that has been issued to the applicant, or a statement that no such denial, revocation, or suspension has occurred;
(10) (i) A list of the names and addresses of the applicant’s employers during the 3 years preceding the date the application is submitted, (ii) The dates he or she was employed by that employer, (iii) The reason for leaving the employ of that employer, (iv) After October 29, 2004, whether the:

(A) Applicant was subject to the FMCSRs while employed by that previous employer,
(B) Job was designated as a safety sensitive function in any DOT regulated mode subject to alcohol and controlled substances testing requirements as required by 49 CFR part 40;

(11) For those drivers applying to operate a commercial motor vehicle as defined by Part 383of this subchapter, a list of the names and addresses of the applicant’s employers during the 7-year period preceding the 3 years contained in paragraph (b)(10) of this section for which the applicant was an operator of a commercial motor vehicle, together with the dates of employment and the reasons for leaving such employment; and
(12) The following certification and signature line, which must appear at the end of the application form and be signed by the applicant: This certifies that this application was completed by me, and that all entries on it and information in it are true and complete to the best of my knowledge.
(Date) (Applicant’s signature)

(c) A motor carrier may require an applicant to provide information in addition to the information required by paragraph (b) of this section on the application form.

(d) Before an application is submitted, the motor carrier must inform the applicant that the information he/she provides in accordance with paragraph (b)(10) of this section may be used, and the applicant’s previous employers will be contacted, for the purpose of investigating the applicant’s safety performance history information as required by paragraphs (d) and (e) of §391.23. The prospective employer must also notify the driver in writing of his/her due process rights as specified in §391.23(i) regarding information received as a result of these investigations.

 3. Regulations governing the retention of drivers:

§ 391.25 Annual inquiry and review of driving record.

(a) Except as provided in subpart G of this part, each motor carrier shall, at least once every 12 months, make an inquiry to obtain the motor vehicle record of each driver it employs, covering at least the preceding 12 months, to the appropriate agency of every State in which the driver held a commercial motor vehicle operator’s license or permit during the time period.
(b) Except as provided in subpart G of this part, each motor carrier shall, at least once every 12 months, review the motor vehicle record of each driver it employs to determine whether that driver meets minimum requirements for safe driving or is disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle pursuant to §391.15.

(1) The motor carrier must consider any evidence that the driver has violated any applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in this subchapter or Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR chapter I, subchapter C).
(2) The motor carrier must consider the driver’s accident record and any evidence that the driver has violated laws governing the operation of motor vehicles, and must give great weight to violations, such as speeding, reckless driving, and operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that indicate that the driver has exhibited a disregard for the safety of the public.

(c) Recordkeeping.

(1) A copy of the motor vehicle record required by paragraph (a) of this section shall be maintained in the driver’s qualification file.
(2) A note, including the name of the person who performed the review of the driving record required by paragraph (b) of this section and the date of such review, shall be maintained in the driver’s qualification file.

There are also many other regulations governing the inspection and maintenance of vehicles, the number of hours a driver can safely drive, alcohol and drug use and testing, safety equipment procedures and trucking company record retention.

As an accident attorney who spent years representing tractor trailer truck and insurance companies, Zack Hendon knows where to mine for gold in truck company records. In a perfect world these trucking companies would not violate federal safety rules. However, they do regularly violate these rules and in a serious truck accident injury, it is almost always worth filing a lawsuit against a negligent trucking company to compel the discovery of evidence of these violations through the use of the court’s subpoena power.

The Hendon Law Firm, LLC has the capability of getting the best settlement or verdict in your serious injury semi truck wreck case. If you have serious injuries or the death of a loved one caused by a trucking accident, your case may be worth millions of dollars and therefore it is vitally important that you choose one of the top Georgia truck accident attorneys.