Trucking Industry Rules and Regulations

Trucking companies and truck drivers are required to comply with strict laws in the State of Pennsylvania.

In fact, hundreds of specialized state and local officers have the job of inspecting commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and their drivers for compliance these federal and state regulations.

Proper Licensing and Maximum Gross Weight Requirements

Truck drivers must have a valid driver’s license specifically meant for the particular type of vehicle they drive. Pennsylvania law specifies the following classifications:

Class A: Required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, if the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds

Class B: Required to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, or any vehicle towing a vehicle not weighing over 10,000 pounds

Class C: Required to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds if the vehicle is transporting hazardous materials requiring placarding, is designed to transport 16 or more occupants, or is a school bus

CMV drivers must also possess a valid medical examiners certificate when towing over 10,000 pounds in interstate commerce or 17,000 pounds in intrastate commerce. While Class A, B, and C licensed drivers must be at least 18 years of age, drivers must be 21 years of age to drive a CMV interstate or a vehicle with placarded hazardous materials.

Overweight CMVs are extremely dangerous on the roadways. No truck on a public highway may exceed the maximum gross weights listed below per the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

The maximum gross type of truck weight is as follows:

Two-Axle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . 38,000 pounds

Three-Axle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . 58,400 pounds

Four-Axle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   73,280 pounds

Five-Axle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  73,280 pounds

Six-Axle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77,000 pounds

Seven-Axle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80,000 pounds

A combination registration is required when the trailer is over 10,000 pounds and the cumulative weight of both vehicles exceeds the registered weight of the towing vehicle.


Reporting a Crash: Requirements for Truck Drivers

When a crash occurs, CMV drivers generally follow the same procedure as passenger cars when reporting the accident. These steps include:

  1. Immediately stop the vehicle at or close to the scene without obstructing traffic
  2. Assist injured individuals including calling for transport to medical facilities
  3. Exchange information with other involved parties
  4. Notify the nearest authorized police department if the crash resulted in injuries and/or severe vehicle damage, unless a police officer has prepared a crash report

Hazardous Materials

CMVs carrying hazardous materials face additional requirements set forth by the State of Pennsylvania. For example, hazardous materials are permitted on the PA Turnpike, but certain hazardous materials are prohibited from using the Turnpike’s tunnels.

When a vehicle involved in an accident through, across, into, or out of Pennsylvania and a hazardous material is released, leaked, or spilled, the driver must report the accident to the appropriate county emergency response office.

Accidents Caused by Failure to Follow Regulations

These and many other regulations in Pennsylvania are meant to keep motorists safe. When a truck driver fails to follow these strict rules and causes an accident, that driver and other responsible parties must be held accountable.

The Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers at Ostroff Injury Law are well-versed in crash investigation and reconstruction. Their experience and knowledge allows them to get answers about why an accident happened and who is at fault.

Contact our firm if you were injured in a CMV truck-related accident. We can get started investigating to determine if state and federal regulations were ignored before the crash occurred.