Maryland Commercial Trucking Rules/Regulations - Reporting Unsafe Truckers

It goes without saying that most motorists across the state of Maryland and throughout the District of Columbia understand the value of our traffic safety regulations and motor vehicle laws. Regardless of where one lives or works, the importance of every driver doing his or her part to maintain safety and civility on our roadways should never be forgotten. And, for the most part, the average driver is aware of and abides by the many and varied state and federal laws that govern motor vehicle use throughout the country.

As drivers ourselves, the members of our legal staff here at the law offices of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, have seen our share of roadway accidents, as well as the occasional careless driver. Human nature, as we all know, is a difficult force to overcome sometimes and there is always a chance that one driver in many will become distracted or otherwise preoccupied to the point of causing a car, truck or motorcycle collision. That said, there is a certain percentage of highway crashes that involve more deliberate actions; or, at the very least, are caused by more selfish motivations and a lack of consideration for other motorists.

Whether the root cause of a passenger car or commercial trucking wreck is careless driving behavior, distracted vehicle operation, or so-called road rage, the results of any kind of serious collision can be quite tragic. Head and neck injuries, internal bleeding, broken bones and bad cuts and deep lacerations are just a few of the consequences that can follow a Maryland beltway, interstate or urban traffic wreck.

Call it what you will, but there is no place on Maryland roadways for drivers who exhibit aggressive driving behavior. For a couple decades now, motorists who operate their vehicles in an aggressive manner have been of increasing concern to traffic safety advocates and law enforcement agencies all across the United States. In reaction to the increase in bad driving behaviors, legislators in many states have considered putting in place laws that penalize those who demonstrate a distinct disregard for the safety of others on the road.

The experienced legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen understands the pain and discomfort that can accompany extensive bodily injuries brought on by a traffic collision. The frustration that many people naturally feel having gone through a bad car or trucking-related traffic accident can be compounded many times over when it is revealed that the person who caused the crash was acting irresponsibly. As Baltimore personal injury attorneys, we understand that the physical and emotional cost to victims can often be rivaled only by the financial toll represented by the medical and rehab costs of recovery.

When it comes to commercial truck drivers, based on individual perceptions, the public’s opinion of truckers as a group can range from respect to indifference, contempt or distrust. In fact, it is almost a certainty that everybody has his or her own vision of what a typical truck driver looks and acts like. The perception of truckers more than likely colors how we act around them on the road as well. While the stereotype of the typical commercial truck driver is hardly flattering, it is more likely that there really is no average trucker.

With all of the rules and regulations governing commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and the drivers who operate them, it is a fair bet that the majority of truckers are responsible individuals who work hard to make a living for themselves and their families. But just like the rest of the population, every group has its bad apples. Just as there are always a handful of rude or aggressive motorists, the truck driving community also suffers from its share of bad actors.

Unfortunately, since the press often covers only the tragic stories of 18-wheelers causing multiple injuries and occasional fatalities, the public usually only sees the worst side of the trucking industry. Yet, those accidents do happen and a percentage of them are caused by unscrupulous drivers. While commercial truck drivers come from all walks of life, each of them is regulated by the federal government, as well as the state of Maryland.

In fact, because state and federal regulations place such high standards on commercial drivers, even a single DUI can mean suspension of an individual’s commercial driver’s license (CDL). As opposed to the average passenger car driver, commercial truckers who are caught driving drunk can lose their license if they have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of just 0.04 percent -- half that for other motorists. A trucker whose BAC measurement is over 0.04, or who refuses a breathalyzer or blood test, can face an administrative license suspension from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

Such are the regulations covering commercial trucking licenses that one of the most serious threats to a trucker’s livelihood is possibility of losing his or her CDL for life. Those drivers found guilty of certain violations can end up having their license literally revoked forever. Since even a temporary suspension can impact a driver's ability to run a trucking business or simply stay employed, the total loss of a CDL can have a devastating effect on anyone who drives for a living.

But regardless of the potentially serious penalties, there are still some truckers who skirt the law whenever possible, as do some unscrupulous trucking companies. And while most truckers are diligent to stay within the law and maintain a safe and clean driving record, others risk losing their CDL through reckless or careless vehicle operation. Some of the more common violations that can get a truck driver’s license suspended include the following:

  • Drinking and driving
  • Reckless truck operation
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit
  • Causing a serious traffic accident
  • Violating out-of-service orders
  • Operating a vehicle/trailer without the proper license endorsement

For motorists who observe an unsafe truck driver, the state provides a phone line to take complaints of bad drivers, or for instances of lost cargo or unsafe trailer loading. Anyone seeing such activities can contact the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division of the Maryland State Police.

As Maryland personal injury lawyers, Lebowitz & Mzhen find it unacceptable for a commercial truck driver to ignore the safety requirements set forth by our state and the federal government. Causing any serious injury accident, and especially a fatal incident, as a direct result of disobeying our traffic safety laws points to negligence on the part of the truck driver.

Whether a traffic wreck involving a commercial motor vehicle is the result of carelessness or outright negligence, our legal team is ready, willing and able to assist victims and their families in the recovery of damages from the responsible parties. We understand Maryland personal injury and insurance law; we can work with insurance companies to ensure that a victim’s emergency room and hospital costs, as well as physical rehabilitation and long-term care expenses, can be covered. Please phone our firm, toll-free, at (800) 654-1949 to set up a free no-obligation consultation. If you prefer, you may email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to arrange a meeting to discuss your trucking injury claim.