Maryland Commercial Trucking Rules/Regulations - Driver Qualifications
As Maryland personal injury lawyers, the professionals at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, know that it sometimes takes just one minor mistake to result in a tragic and potentially fatal traffic accident. And, when it comes to commercial trucking collisions, one small error on the part of a commercial trucker may be the trigger for a roadway disaster that affects many innocent people in just a matter of seconds. Although no one can say with any certainty that any serious highway crash could have been avoided given the benefit of hindsight, there are certain factors that are often telltale signs of a future catastrophe.
As experts in the field of auto and trucking accidents, we understand how easily a person can become involved in a deadly collision caused by a careless or outright negligent driver. As densely packed as our beltways and interstates are, the mere existence of a reckless driver in another motor vehicle can put many more individuals in jeopardy. If the reckless driver happens to be operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), the consequence can be very bad for many people. These kinds of trucking-related accidents happen from time to time on roadways in and around cities like Bowie, Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
It goes without saying that almost everybody in Maryland knows of someone who has either been involved in a traffic accident or a friend or relative who has ended up being in a car, truck or motorcycle crash here in Maryland. In fact, it is safe to say that anyone reading this who hasn’t been in a car or trucking-related traffic collision will likely find himself impacted by one in some way or another during his lifetime.
For those individuals who find themselves the victim of a negligence-related passenger car or commercial trucking accident in the future, the experienced trial lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen have the legal skills and courtroom background to assist those looking to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party(s). Whether the negligent party is a young driver distracted by a smartphone while texting, or a seasoned commercial trucker too busy to perform a required pre-trip inspection, our legal team is ready and willing to help.
Although most commercial truck drivers are conscientious, hard-working people, there are always a few bad drivers in any group. Just as some passenger car drivers fail to respect the rights of others on the road by operating their vehicles recklessly or ignoring the basic traffic laws that keep us all safe, there are truck drivers who avoid some or all of their legal responsibilities as required by federal and state law.
Sadly, there are too many opportunities for serious or life-threatening collisions on Maryland’s beltways, rural highways and urban centers. As Maryland attorneys trained in auto insurance and personal injury law, we know the importance of state and federal licensing and certification of commercial truck drivers. While the average motorist must be licensed by the state in order to operate a motor vehicle on public roads, the requirements and testing for passenger car licenses are not nearly as strict as that for commercial vehicle licenses (CDLs).
Because of the size, weight and potentially dangerous nature of the vehicles they drive, the majority of commercial truckers have a strong sense of responsibility to the rest of the driving public. Adhering to state and federal safety requirements is highly important, as is remaining alert at all times. Understanding the components and vehicle systems that make up an 18-wheeler or large delivery truck is also important for commercial vehicle operators, since being able to detect mechanical problems before they pose a threat to the vehicle, its driver and nearby motorists is critical to the safe operation of any CMV.
Qualifying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) entails a great amount of training and hours behind the wheel practicing driving techniques and honing skills at truck driving schools even before taking the CDL test. Once sufficiently trained in the operation of big rig trucks, obtaining a CDL means that an applicant must pass a physical examination as well as drug screening tests. Some of the key requirements include the following:
- Blood pressure reading within acceptable limits
- No needle-injected insulin for drivers with diabetes
- Blood sugar measurement (A1C Test) less than 10 percent
- No current cardiac insufficiency or disease (if so, annual stress test will be required)
- Sleep apnea patients must show proof that their condition is under control
- Minimum 20/40 vision in each eye (glasses or contact lens use permitted)
- Able to hear a forced whisper from five feet away (one ear minimum; hearing aids allowed)
- No drugs detected (including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and PCP)
There are other requirements, as well as exemptions (sometimes allowed via a physical waiver). Exemptions may be allowed for certain medical conditions, such as amputation, vision, and grasping power. Maryland also has its own set of rules and regulations pertaining to medical requirements (and possible exemptions).
With all of the rules and regulations put in place by the state of Maryland (COMAR Title 11, Subtitle 11) and the federal government (FMCSA Part 383), drivers who pass all the hurdles can still end up causing an accident, either through deliberate and dangerous behavior, such as exceeding the speed limit, or careless habits, such as driving with too little sleep. The legal penalties that can follow an arrest for reckless driving may not deter some bad drivers from acting in a manner that puts the public at risk. As commercial trucking accident attorneys, Lebowitz & Mzhen will investigate the facts of a personal injury case to determine to what extend a driver was negligent in his duties.
We are dedicated to helping victims and their families recover damages from the responsible parties in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. When preparing a client’s legal case against a commercial trucker or fleet owner, our lawyers draw on all of their skills and training to obtain the best possible outcome. While not every fatal or injury-related trucking accident case goes to trial, having a well-prepared claim may result in an out-of-court settlement. If so, this can sometimes spare the victim and his family the stress and upset of a potentially lengthy courtroom trial.
For anyone who has been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident arising out of negligence by another driver or responsible third party, we highly recommend that the victim or his family get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney to better understand their legal rights. Our accident lawyers are ready, willing and able to discuss your case so that you may more easily decide whether or not to file a claim. Call us, toll-free at (800) 654-1949, or email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.