What Laws and Regulations Must Truck Drivers Follow in North Carolina?

October 28, 2020 | By Riddle & Brantley Accident Injury Lawyers
What Laws and Regulations Must Truck Drivers Follow in North Carolina?

Truck accidents are common. At Riddle & Brantley, our truck accident attorneys have been helping victims of truck and tractor-trailer accidents and their families for more than 30 years. In many of these cases, North Carolina trucking laws and regulations play a critical role in determining the outcome. Many of our clients wonder, “What laws and regulations must truck drivers follow in North Carolina?” 

We can review the circumstances of the accident, evaluate what NC trucking laws may apply, and help determine your best legal path for seeking compensation.

In this article, we’ll outline some of the most common federal and NC trucking laws and regulations that may apply to a potential truck accident injury case.

Federal and State Trucking Laws and Regulations in North Carolina

In the United States, commercial vehicles carrying passengers and/or cargo are regulated by both state and federal laws.

Truck drivers operating in North Carolina must follow many federal and state laws and regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), is the primary entity that oversees the trucking industry. The FMCSA imposes rules that cover everything from the number of hours a truck driver is allowed to drive, to how hazardous material must be labeled, to the overall size and weight restrictions of different vehicles, and more.

In NC, all trucking companies are required by law to follow federal and applicable regulations when operating a truck. Failure to follow federal or North Carolina trucking laws is typically considered an act of negligence.

If trucking companies violate industry regulations, they may be held accountable for any accidents that result.

Interstate vs. Intrastate Trucking Laws

Interstate traffic laws apply to any commercial truck traveling between different states. These laws are overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation and covered by regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

On the other hand, intrastate traffic laws apply to commercial trucks that operate and deliver goods within one state.

Intrastate Trucking Regulations in North Carolina

Any truck that operates solely in NC is governed by NC state regulations. As with many states, NC has adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations — with some exceptions.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) examines motor carriers to confirm they are in compliance with the regulations and laws governing the trucking industry. They also investigate truck accidents and promote programs for accident prevention and public safety on highways.

There are some unique differences between North Carolina truck laws and those of the federal government.

For example:

Violations of state and federal trucking laws may prove an important part of your truck accident injury case

The qualifications for drivers and the hours of service differ for intrastate truckers in NC. Any driver who is not transporting hazardous material may be as young as 18. Moreover, if a driver is unable to meet the physical requirements to operate a motor vehicle, he/she may try to get a waiver from the state.

This list is not comprehensive. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help advise you on what truck laws and regulations may be applicable in your case.

Hours of Service Laws in North Carolina

Some NC trucking laws pertaining to hours of service are not as strict as the federal hours of service rules.

North Carolina trucking hours of service rules include:

  • Truck drivers cannot drive for more than 12 hours following eight consecutive hours off duty
  • Truck drivers cannot drive for any period after being on duty for 16 hours following eight consecutive hours off duty
  • Drivers cannot be on duty for more than 70 hours in any 7-day period or more than 80 hours in an eight-day period as determined by the driver’s previous seven days of operation

North Carolina Truck Accident Reporting Rules

NC truck accident reporting rules are similar to the federal guidelines. Any commercial truck driver must report significant accidents immediately to local law enforcement.

North Carolina truck accident reporting rules include:

  • If the accident includes a fatality, then it must be reported within 24 hours to the Public Service Commission
  • If there were no fatalities, the accident should be reported to the Public Service Commission within 15 days
  • All accidents must be reported no later than 30 days to the Public Service Commission

The above list comprises a few of the many trucking regulations that truck drivers and trucking companies must abide by. This list is not intended to be comprehensive.

Truck Insurance Rules

In addition, truck drivers and their employers must carry certain insurance coverage and meet various minimum requirements for:

  • bodily injury
  • property damage
  • and other insurance coverage

Experienced Attorneys Handling North Carolina Truck Accident Cases

At Riddle & Brantley, we believe that individuals and companies that violate federal or state trucking regulations should be held accountable for their negligence.

Our firm has investigators on staff who can help investigate a truck accident and help you prove liability

Our attorneys have an in-depth understanding of all laws that govern the trucking industry.

We can help you determine if the accident that left you with serious injury (or worse, the death of a loved one) was caused by a trucking regulation violation. We have an on-staff team of experienced investigators who can immediately begin investigating the accident and proving liability. We also frequently bring in outside experts such as federal truck safety experts to advise on these cases and provide expert testimony.

If you decide to hire us, we will do our best to secure the maximum compensation you are owed and help you navigate the legal system.

Recent results include (see disclaimer below):

  • $9.45 Million | Tractor-Trailer Accident & Wrongful Death — Our truck accident attorneys fought for justice for surviving relatives of a family of four who were killed in a major and tragic tractor-trailer accident near Fayetteville. We led a comprehensive accident investigation and even subpoenaed traffic data from Google Maps to prove liability. Ultimately, we secured more than $9 million in total compensation in separate settlements prior to trial.
  • $1.8 Million | Truck Accident & Workers’ Comp — Attorney Gene Riddle represented a truck driver who was hit by another truck while on the job. He eventually lost his left leg below the knee as a result of the accident. Attorney Riddle worked out settlements with the truck insurance company and the workers’ comp carrier, totaling $1,800,000 in compensation.

*** Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.

“I would not have won my case without the help from my team at Riddle & Brantley.”

-John S., Riddle & Brantley client

You don’t have to do this alone.

If you have a case and decide to hire us, our team is dedicated and prepared to be the aggressive advocate you need.

Truck accidents are dangerous. Accidents involving trucks are often serious due to the enormous weight and size of the trucks. The injuries caused by these crashes can be life-threatening and life-altering. In some cases, the accident is caused by the truck driver or truck company’s negligence.

This is why truck laws and regulations are so important, and why they can prove critical in your truck accident case.

“This settlement changed me and my family’s lives.”

-Linda B., Riddle & Brantley client

 We understand what you’re going through and would love to help however we can.

Remember, we don’t get paid unless you do. There are no attorney fees unless we win your case.

We serve clients across the entire state of North Carolina, including in:

  • Raleigh
  • Durham
  • Greensboro
  • Winston-Salem
  • Asheville
  • Charlotte
  • Fayetteville
  • Goldsboro
  • Greenville
  • Jacksonville
  • Wilmington