West Virginia Trucking Laws

June 29, 2021

Large commercial trucks are the lifeblood of the West Virginia economy. Not only do these vehicles deliver goods throughout the state, but they also do so throughout the US. In general, we will find that large commercial trucks are strictly regulated by both federal and state laws. Most states adopt the same types of regulations for trucks that are already imposed on these vehicles at the federal level.

Truck Driver Hiring and Training

Truck companies must properly check an applicant’s background search for any history of auto accidents. New truck drivers must undergo criminal background checks.

In order to be able to operate a commercial truck in this state, a person must have a commercial driver’s license, and they must pass various written and driving tests.

Companies are also responsible for training new drivers. Simply having a commercial driver’s license is not enough. Lack of driver training can lead to dangerous errors on the roadway. Additionally, all drivers must agree to submit to random alcohol or drug testing in the event an accident occurs.

Hour of Service Regulations

In an effort to prevent truck drivers from operating while fatigued behind the wheel, both federal and state regulations place limits on the number of hours a truck driver can operate during a workday and a workweek. Truck drivers can only operate for a maximum of 11 on-duty hours during a 14 hour workday. After eight consecutive driving hours, a driver must take a 30-minute rest break.

After a 14 hour workday, a driver must rest for a period of 10 hours before they can continue driving. In addition to these daily restrictions, truck drivers cannot operate more than 60 hours in a seven-day workweek or 70 hours in an eight-day workweek.

DUIs and Commercial Trucks

For those who operate traditional vehicles, their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) cannot exceed 0.08%. However, the state has a reduced BAC level for those who operate large trucks and other commercial vehicles. Truck drivers who are operating these large vehicles cannot have a BAC at or above 0.04%. Operating any vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs is incredibly dangerous. The BAC is halved for these large trucks because of the added dangers associated with the operation of these vehicles.

Loading and Securing Cargo

Truck companies and third parties who load cargo have tremendous responsibilities when it comes to loading these vehicles. First, it is essential to ensure that trucks do not exceed federal weight and height restrictions. Additionally, trucks must be loaded properly to ensure that they do not become unbalanced and to ensure that cargo does not fly off the truck and onto the roadway.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation specifically discusses the legal size and weight limits for commercial trucks. Oversized loads, those that exceed 80,000 pounds, require a special permit from the state to operate. Additionally, the FMCSA has specific rules in place for properly loading and securing cargo.

Mandatory Equipment Inspections

FMCSA regulations require that trucks are inspected, repaired, and maintained regularly. There is no way for large commercial trucks to remain in good working order without these regular checks. Negligent truck maintenance could lead to a breakdown of various truck parts, which can cause severe truck accidents. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident in West Virginia, do not hesitate to speak with a Martinsburg truck accident attorney. The team at Manchin Ferretti Injury Law is here to help during a free consultation. Contact us today.


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