If you have not seen a single truck accident on your way to or from work in Kansas City, consider it an extraordinary day. While this is obviously an exaggeration, it is a fact that there is a large number of truck accidents in Kansas City, which is considered one of the top five trucking centers in the nation.
In fact, statistics show that large trucks – those that weigh more than 10,000 pounds – account for nearly 15 percent of total traffic in Kansas City. Moreover, all these trucks are responsible for moving about 60 million of freight cargo each year.
While there is no denial that trucks moving cargo bring a valuable input into the local and state economies, large trucks carrying thousands of pounds in cargo in one city does backfire in the form of truck crashes. Regardless of whether you are a motorist, pedestrian, or truck driver, there are certain things you need to know about trucks to avoid getting into a truck crash in Kansas City or elsewhere in Missouri.
And today, we are going to ask our Kansas City truck accident lawyer at Mayer & Rosenberg, P.C., to outline everything you need to know about trucking crashes in our city.
Federal trucking regulations in Kansas City
The most common cause of truck accidents is failure to comply with federal and state regulations for commercial trucks. Let’s begin with the federal regulations imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
- Alcohol and drug testing. Before being hired, all truck drivers must consent to drug and alcohol testing. Also, truckers can be tested for presence of alcohol or controlled substances in their system during random drug tests under reasonable suspicion. Obviously, a trucking company is prohibited from hiring a truck driver whose drug or alcohol tests are positive.
- Hours of service regulations. In an attempt to earn more, many truck drivers in Kansas City and elsewhere in Missouri increase their consecutive on-duty work hours by sacrificing their sleep and rest and putting their lives and the lives of other motorists on the road at risk. Under federal law, truck drivers are prohibited from driving for longer than 11 consecutive hours during a 14-hour maximum shift. Also, it is illegal to drive more than 60 hours in a week or 70 hours in eight days.
- Size and weight restrictions. In order to reduce the number of trips required to transport cargo from point A to point B, trucking companies tend to overload their trucks. Under federal law, single-axle trucks cannot carry more than 20,000 pounds, while two-axle trucks can carry up to 34,000 pounds. There is also a maximum weight restriction for large trucks, which cannot weigh more than 80,000 pounds.
- Truck maintenance. Inspection and maintenance of commercial trucks deserves its own chapter (or even a book), because inadequate maintenance of trucks is one of the leading causes of preventable truck crashes in Kansas City. Trucking companies are required to keep inspection and maintenance logs so that a truck accident lawyer in Kansas City or elsewhere in Missouri would be able to check for violations in the event of a truck crash.
Statewide trucking laws in Kansas City and Missouri
Many truck drivers in Missouri wrongly believe that they must only comply with federal trucking regulations. But this is not entirely true, as there are also state trucking laws for Missouri and Kansas City.
These trucking laws include local speed limits for commercial trucks, special traffic signs, and the DUI laws that differ from the federal regulations. For example, truck drivers in Kansas City are prohibited from driving at a speed that exceeds 70 miles per hour. However, the maximum speed limit is even lower on rural roads in Kansas City.
As for the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for truck drivers in Kansas City, it’s 0.04 for commercial drivers and 0.08 for non-commercial drivers. Also, truck drivers in Kansas City and all across Missouri are prohibited from operating on certain roads (thus, they must be keep an eye on road signs when driving through the state).
Do you want to find out more about truck accidents in Kansas City and elsewhere in Missouri? Schedule a free consultation with our Kansas City truck accident attorney at Mayer & Rosenberg, P.C., by calling at 816-941-8949.