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Trucking Practice Tips

Photo of an eighteen-wheeler.

For any parties known to have insurance, you should send the preservation letter to both the party and the insurance carrier.


The FMCSR is published with “guidance”, which answers FAQs.


Retaining Trucking Experts very early in the process can help you with preservation of evidence, discovery requests, depositions and even insurance coverage determinations.

Don’t forget to preserve electronic data – ECM and EDR data, Mobile Communications Systems, GPS Tracking devices, Cellular phone data, EZ pass data.


Send FOIA requests to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: FOIA Team MC – MBI 400 7th Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20590.


Commercial Motor Vehicles include not only tractor-trailers, but also buses (including school buses), some RVs and tank vehicles.


The FMCSR, like all regulatory schemes, changes year to year.  Be sure to find and apply the regulations for the time period your collision occurred.


49 C.F.R. Appendix A to § 379 provides a schedule of records and periods of required retention.


The FMCSR are a great resource in compiling your written discovery requests, as they include several lists of required documents, records and policies for motor carriers.

Violation of the FMCSR May Constitute Negligence Per Se IF you establish 1) plaintiff was within the class of persons protected by the statute; and 2) the injury is of the type that the statute was intended to prevent.

 Companies often argue that the driver is an “independent contractor”, not an employee.  The FMCSR specifically guts this defense, making the motor carrier a statutory employer. (See FMCSR § 390.5).

Internet Brokerage Companies are a relatively new addition to the trucking world – and designed to shield shippers and carriers from liability.  ALWAYS inquire about brokers in written discovery and at deposition.

Coupling the FMCSR with the CDL Manual is an effective tool for establishing Rules of the Road and violations at deposition.


390.13 Can serve as foundation to apply the FMCSR regulations to non-carriers.


390.11 Gives you Direct Negligence against the motor carrier.


Post-Accident, the motor carrier is required to ensure the driver receives a test for alcohol within eight hours of the incident, and a drug test within thirty-two hours.  Failure to comply is grounds for a spoliation charge.

A driver cannot drive after 15 hours of work, cannot exceed 10 hours of driving during a 15 hour period, and cannot exceed 60/70 hours within 7/8 days (depending on the motor carrier schedule).  After the 60/70 mark is reached, the driver must have a 34-hour “restart”.

This page is intended as a resource for practicing attorneys only and is not to be construed as legal advice or representation.

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