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Massachusetts' trucking regulations focus on safety

We've dedicated a fair amount of time on this blog to discussing trucking regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations seek to ensure safety for all motorists by controlling the conduct of truckers and truck companies. However, it is important to note that these regulations only apply to trucks that operate in interstate commerce, meaning trucks that cross state lines. For those that operate intrastate, or within the state's boundaries, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's regulations apply.

These regulations address the same issues as those governed by the FMCSA. For example, Massachusetts' regulations limit the weight of semi-trucks, with a four-axle vehicle being limited to 87,000 pounds. Vehicle height is critically important, too. Under the state's regulations, trucks traveling on the Mass Turnpike can be no higher than 13 feet six inches. Those traveling through the Sumner Tunnel, on the other hand, cannot exceed 12 feet six inches. Even vehicle length is governed. A semi-trailer, for example, cannot be longer than 53 feet.

These are just a few of the regulations that truckers and their employers must meet before the state will issue a commercial vehicle permit. Although some may see these regulations as burdensome, they truly are meant to keep motorists safe. A truck that is too heavy may cause damage to the roadway, but it is also more difficult to slow down and bring to a stop.

Why would someone considering a personal injury lawsuit need to know about these regulations? Because a violation of a state-imposed regulation could help demonstrate negligence. Negligence must often be proven before compensation can be recovered, so assessing whether or not any regulations have been violated is crucial. Those who want to discuss their truck accident case further should consider contacting an experienced attorney of their choosing.

Source: Massachusetts Department of Transportation, "Commercial Transport & Permits," accessed on April 28, 2017

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