All truck drivers and trucking companies must follow certain rules and regulations. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates all aspects of the industry, each state also has its laws. In Ohio, the Ohio Public Utilities Commission oversees and enforces these laws.
Understanding Ohio trucking rules and regulations can help you determine fault and liability following a commercial vehicle accident. If you suffered injuries in a truck accident and believe the driver and their employer are responsible, a personal injury lawyer could help.
Ohio Sets Limits on the Size and Weight of Commercial Vehicles
Like many other states, Ohio sets height, length, and weight limits on large trucks traveling across its borders. According to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), these range between:
- 20,000 pounds for a single axle
- 80,000 pounds for a long quad-axle
Ohio determines weight limits using the Federal Bridge Formula described by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). This formula assigns the maximum weight that a vehicle can carry based on its axles. In Ohio, the State Highway Patrol enforces these limits using weigh stations.
Weight Limits Help Keep Ohio Bridges and Roads Safe
The stated purpose of the Federal Bridge Formula is to ensure bridges and roads can handle the weight of large vehicles. However, it also protects others on the road from the danger associated with heavy and overloaded semi-trucks.
An overloaded truck can put occupants of other vehicles in danger because of the increased risk of an accident. It is easier to lose control of an overweight truck and harder to stop one.
Commercial Truck Drivers Must Undergo Testing to Get Their CDL
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) ensures that truck drivers follow all federal guidelines when getting and keeping their commercial driver’s license (CDL), including:
- Knowledge and skills tests: Ohio Revised Code Section 4506.12 mandates all drivers to pass the required tests before receiving a CDL endorsement and driving a large commercial vehicle. Additional endorsements, such as carrying hazardous materials, may require more in-depth testing.
- Medical testing: Truck drivers must be in good health and meet all necessary physical qualifications or receive an exemption. They may also require specific medical tests to get and keep a CDL per Ohio Revised Code Section 4506.10.
- Vision testing: All Ohio drivers must pass a vision test, but those hoping to receive a CDL must meet stricter criteria under Ohio Administrative Code Rule 4501:1-1-20.
Trucking Companies Have Vicarious Liability for Drivers’ Negligent Behavior
When a truck driver acts negligently and injures someone in Ohio, the victim could hold their employer vicariously liable when:
- The worker is on the job;
- Engaged in activities for the employer; and
- Their actions occurred within the scope of their employment.
All three factors generally apply when a truck driver sits behind the wheel and causes a collision because of their careless or reckless actions. Under the common-law doctrine of respondeat superior, the trucking company may have vicarious liability for any injuries that occur. Respondeat superior is the common law doctrine that creates this vicarious liability. Ohio case law, including Davis v. The May Dept. Stores Co., et al. (2001), affirms this principle.
As a result, an accident victim’s lawyer may build a case against a large corporation (not an individual) and attempt to recover compensation from them in these claims. A truck accident lawyer is accustomed to facing corporate lawyers and insurance representatives during negotiations or at trial.
How Long You Can Hold a Trucking Company and Negligent Driver Liable
There are deadlines for pursuing a lawsuit in civil court after any personal injury incident, including truck collisions. Victims generally have up to two years to begin their suit in most Ohio crash cases. The clock starts ticking:
- When the accident occurs for injury claims per Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10
- The date the person passes away in wrongful death cases per Ohio Revised Code Section 2125.02
Truck collision victims often suffer significant injuries and require months of medical treatment and care. However, it is crucial to get their insurance claim started as soon as possible. Working with an attorney will ensure you can focus on healing while they take care of seeking and securing financial recovery on your behalf.
We Provide Complimentary Case Reviews for Ohio Truck Accident Victims
If you suffered injuries in a collision caused by a negligent truck driver, The Fitch Law Firm LLC is here for you. We have offices in Columbus, Dayton, Marion, and Springfield. We will discuss your accident, injuries, legal options, and next steps with you for free today. We are a contingency fee firm.
Call (614) 545-3930 now to get started.