truck driver steering wheel

Federal Trucking Regulations: What You Need to Know

When truck accidents occur, the results can be catastrophic. This is because most regular-sized motor vehicles stand little to no chance against big trucks.


In order to ensure that roads across the country are adequately safe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets regulations for big trucks, such as semis, tractor-trailers, and big rigs. Failure to follow these regulations could result in monetary penalties and increase the risk of a trucking accident.


It’s important to note that there were some changes to these regulations in 2019. We discuss more about these changes below.

Hours of Service

Because there is so much as stake when they are behind the wheel, truck drivers are limited by hours of service regulations. Broadly, truck drivers can only drive for 14 hours of the day, with some special exceptions.


The FMCSA recently introduced two changed to the hours of service in the house:

  1. HR 5417 (REST Act) – This act features three provisions that would allow a 14-hour clock pause, a three-hour rest break, and elimination of the 30-minute break requirement

  2. HR 6178 (HOURS Act) – This act has four requirements, including a reduction in supporting documents, short-haul alignment, an ag exemption, and eliminating the advanced notice for the split sleeper berth


The House is expected to make a decision regarding these proposed changes in the upcoming few months.

ELD Mandate

The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate went into effect on December 17, 2017, which required all commercial trucking companies to use electronic systems for logging hours of service. At the time, however, many companies still used Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs).


The rule allowed companies until December 17, 2019 to switch over to the ELDs. As of today, this means that all companies should be using these devices to log hours of service.

DOT Hair Testing

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires truck drivers to undergo drug testing, which is vital for these types of jobs. Urine sample drug testing has been the standard, however, the DOT is advocating for hair testing. This is because, unlike urine tests, hair testing can reveal whether drugs have been used in the past two to three months.


The Department of Health Services is responsible for creating guidelines for all drug tests, including hair testing. These guidelines were due back in December 2016, however, they have yet to be set.


If you or a loved one is injured in a trucking accident, you need legal representation immediately. Our dedicated team of trucking accident attorneys will leave no stone unturned in order to find out whether federal trucking regulations were broken and identify liable parties. Once we do this, we will fight hard for the maximum compensation you need to recover.


Contact Briggle & Polan at (512) 400-3278 to schedule your free case review.