Intersection of Federal and State Laws in Chicago: Navigating Truck Accident Claims

Friday, October 13, 2023

Intersection of Federal and State Laws in Chicago: Navigating Truck Accident Claims

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

Trucking regulations are an important part of traffic safety in Illinois – especially in the bustling city of Chicago.

As Chicago serves as a hub for trucking companies, it’s important to address the increased risk of accidents caused by the presence of commercial trucks on the roads. To mitigate this risk, federal trucking regulations have been implemented that cover driver qualifications, vehicle maintenance, and hours of service.

By adhering to these regulations, trucking companies can contribute to accident prevention – an effort that prioritizes the well-being of both motorists and the drivers who drive commercial trucks.

In addition to federal regulations, state laws in Illinois also play a role in governing the trucking industry. These laws cover:

  • The enforcement of weight restrictions
  • Regular safety inspections
  • Setting specific requirements for trucking companies, including registration, insurance coverage, and out-of-service mandates.

That state requires that commercial truck drivers possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and be at least 21 years of age to operate an interstate vehicle or transport passengers. They must be 18 years old to drive a truck within the state.

It is essential for all individuals involved in the trucking industry to have an understanding of these rules to ensure compliance. Failure to comply with federal and state laws can lead to fines, penalties, and possible legal consequences if accidents occur.

Therefore, It is critical for trucking companies and drivers to stay updated on trucking regulations and regularly assess their practices to ensure continued safety on the roadways. When they don’t, accidents happen. A truck accident attorney can help after a Chicago truck crash.

Safety Rules for Truck Drivers

Commercial vehicle owners and trucking companies must observe certain safety rules, such as the following:

Commercial Driving

All drivers of buses or carriers that drive semi-trailers or trucks carrying hazardous materials must obtain a CDL. Drivers must also pass a physical exam and a specialized test that proves they can operate a big rig.

Drunk Driving

If a driver’s BAC is .08 or above when driving a car, or .04 or more when driving a truck, they’re presumed to be guilty of DUI. A truck driver must wait four hours before operating a truck after they consume alcohol. Employers also must conduct random sobriety tests to ensure drivers remain sober and ready to drive.

Regular Inspections

Trucking companies must routinely inspect trucks and perform any needed repairs before they allow trucks to travel on the roadways. Inspections may include assessing the mirror, brakes, reflector lights, and windshields.

Operating Hours

Commercial truck drivers cannot drive over 11 hours during a day and cannot work 14 hours during that time. If they reach these limits, they’re required to rest for ten continuous hours before resuming work.

Weight Limits

Federal law regulates the gross weight of trucks to prevent truck accidents and prevent the cargo from toppling over or shifting.


Which specific federal laws regulate the trucking industry in Chicago? How do they aim to prevent truck accidents?

The trucking industry in Chicago is regulated by laws such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act (CMVSA). These laws strive to prevent truck accidents by establishing safety standards for drivers, commercial trucks, and trucking companies.

The FMCSRs outline requirements regarding driver qualifications, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, and cargo securement. On the other hand, the CMVSA covers the CDL requirements, ensuring drivers possess the skills needed to operate a commercial truck.

How do state laws in Illinois compare to federal laws when it comes to regulating truck accidents in Chicago?

In Illinois, state laws work alongside federal laws to regulate truck accidents in Chicago.

As mentioned, Illinois has established rules concerning truck size and weight limits as well as qualifications and licensing for drivers. These state laws collaborate with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to ensure the safe operation of commercial trucks on the roads.

While there might be some variations between state and federal laws, such as differences in penalties or enforcement procedures, both aim to promote road safety and prevent truck accidents.

If you’re involved in a truck accident, it’s, therefore, best to seek advice from an attorney who specializes in truck accident claims.

Are there any state or federal laws that specifically address driver fatigue and hours of service regulations within the trucking industry in Chicago?

Both at the state and federal level, legislation exists that tackles driver fatigue and hours of service regulations within the trucking industry.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for enforcing the Hours of Service regulations at the federal level. These regulations establish limits on a truck driver’s working hours – driving time as well as mandatory rest periods.

In Illinois, there are also state regulations that align with these standards. The primary goal of these laws is to ensure the safety of both truck drivers and other road users by preventing accidents caused by driver fatigue and ensuring rest for drivers.

The Illinois Secretary of State, for example, addresses both drowsy and distracted driving for motorists as well.

Truck drivers may get into accidents if they take stimulants to stay awake, text while driving, don’t pull over when they’re tired, or speed to meet a delivery time and date.

What are the potential consequences and penalties faced by truck drivers and trucking companies who violate state laws pertaining to truck accidents in Chicago?

Truck drivers and trucking companies that violate state laws related to truck accidents in Chicago may face significant consequences and penalties. These can include fines, suspension or revocation of their license, increased insurance premiums, and potential imprisonment for the driver involved.

Trucking companies may also be held accountable for their drivers’ actions. They can face action, such as civil lawsuits, seeking compensation for accident victims. Moreover, violating laws regarding truck accidents can harm a driver’s or company’s reputation, which may lead to missed business opportunities and potential financial difficulties.

How are truck accidents in Chicago addressed by state laws when it comes to liability and compensation for the victims? What avenues can those affected by accidents pursue?

In Chicago, both federal and state laws play a role in handling liability and compensation for truck accident victims. Again, federal regulations, like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, set safety standards for drivers and companies involved in trucking.

At the state level, laws such as the Illinois Vehicle Code further regulate trucking activities and establish guidelines for determining liability.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When it comes to seeking compensation, victims of truck accidents in Chicago have several options available to them. They can file a personal injury lawsuit against the party/parties involved, whether it be the driver, a trucking company, the DOT, or a parts manufacturer.

They can also have their attorney negotiate a settlement outside the court with the other party’s insurance company or reach a settlement through arbitration.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today

To get equitable compensation for a truck accident claim, contact Malman Law today. Schedule a free consultation now.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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