Indiana Trucking Laws

Indiana Trucking Laws

What Are Indiana’s Laws for Commercial Vehicles?

Navigating the intricacies of Indiana trucking laws is essential for anyone involved in the commercial transportation industry within the state. These laws are designed to ensure the safety of both the truck operators and the general public by setting standards for vehicle operation, maintenance, and driver conduct. Understanding these regulations can help prevent legal issues, promote road safety, and enhance the efficiency of transportation operations.

If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident in Indiana, you may have legal options and rights to seek compensation for your injuries. The law firm of Doehrman Buba Ring is dedicated to representing those injured in trucking accidents and helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Contact our lawyers today for a free consultation.

Here are some key areas covered by Indiana trucking laws:

Licensing requirements

In Indiana, commercial vehicle drivers are required to hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to operate commercial vehicles legally. The process for obtaining a CDL involves passing both knowledge and skills tests that are designed to ensure drivers have the necessary comprehension and ability to safely handle large vehicles on public roads. Additionally, there are specific endorsements that may be required depending on the type of vehicle being operated or the cargo being transported, such as hazardous materials. It’s crucial for drivers to comply with these requirements to maintain legal status and ensure their own safety and that of others on the road.

Size and Weight Limits

Indiana imposes specific restrictions on how large and heavy commercial vehicles, like semi-trucks, can be. Here’s a straightforward overview of the maximum weight limits:

Max Gross Weight: 80,000 pounds

Axle Weight Limits:

  • Max Single axle weight: 20,000 pounds
  • Max tandem axle weight: 34,000 pounds
  • Max tri-axle weight: 50,000 pounds

Max wheel weight: No more than 800 pounds per inch of tire width

Regarding the truck’s size, Indiana law restricts:

  • Width: Up to 8 feet 6 inches
  • Length: Not exceeding 50 feet
  • Height: A maximum of 13 feet 6 inches

These regulations aim to maintain road safety and infrastructure integrity, ensuring that commercial vehicles operate within safe bounds.

Required Safety Equipment

To increase safety on the roads for all users, Indiana has set forth requirements for commercial vehicles regarding the necessary safety equipment they must carry. This mandated equipment is critical to prevent and respond to incidents on the road effectively. Ensuring that all commercial vehicles are properly equipped not only minimizes the risk of accidents but also aids in the efficient handling of any situations that do arise. Here is a list of the required safety equipment for commercial vehicles in Indiana:

Reflective Triangles or Flares: To be used in case of a breakdown or stop on the side of the road, increasing visibility.

Brakes: A functioning braking system is critical for safe operation of commercial vehicles.

Reflectors and Lights: Headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and other reflective devices help maintain visibility on the road.

Fire Extinguisher: Must be easily accessible within the motor vehicle to address small fires before emergency services arrive.

Seat Belts: These are required for all seating positions within the vehicle, promoting the safety of the driver and any passengers.

Brake Performance Monitoring System: To ensure that the vehicle’s brakes are always in top working condition.

Backup Alarm: For vehicles that regularly engage in reverse motion, alerting nearby pedestrians and vehicles.

Speed Limits

In Indiana, commercial vehicles adhere to speed limits set for the safety of all road users.

On interstate highways, the maximum speed limit is 70 mph for all vehicles, including commercial trucks.

For non-interstate highways, the limit is reduced to 60 mph.

Additionally, trucks exceeding a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds are mandated to have speed-limiting devices installed, ensuring compliance with these regulations. Compliance with these speed limits is critical for the safety of both commercial vehicle operators and other road users.

Insurance Requirements for Commercial Vehicles in Indiana

To ensure the safety and financial responsibility of commercial vehicles operating within the state, Indiana mandates specific insurance requirements as outlined by the Indiana Department of Revenue. These requirements are designed to protect not only commercial vehicle operators but also other road users and the public.

Liability Insurance:

All commercial vehicles must carry liability insurance with minimum coverage amounts to address damages or injuries caused by accidents. The coverage minimums are as follows:

  • General Freight: $750,000
  • Hazardous Materials: $1,000,000
  • Certain Hazardous Materials: $5,000,000

Additional Insurance Coverage:

Apart from liability insurance, commercial vehicle operators are required to have several other insurance types to fully protect against a variety of risks:

  • Physical Damage Insurance: Covers damages to the commercial vehicle itself.
  • Cargo Insurance: Ensures protection against damage to the cargo being transported.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Provides coverage for employees who might get injured on the job.

Operators must carry proof of all insurance coverages in their vehicles at all times. This documentation must be readily available for presentation to law enforcement upon request, ensuring that vehicles comply with state regulations and are adequately insured.

Hours of Service

For commercial truck drivers, hours of service (HOS) rules are crucial to prevent fatigue and ensure safety. These rules limit driving hours as follows:

  • Driving Limits: No more than 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off.
  • On-Duty Limits: Cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 hours off.
  • Rest Breaks: Required to take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving without a 30-minute interruption. This doesn’t apply to short-haul trips.
  • Weekly Limits: Cannot drive more than 60 hours in 7 days, or 70 hours in 8 days. A 34-hour off-duty period resets this clock.
  • Log Keeping: Drivers and trucks must keep logs of driving hours to prove compliance.

Violating these rules or a trucking company encouraging such violations can result in liability for truck accidents.

Driving Distracted

In Indiana, using any handheld electronic devices while driving is strictly prohibited. This rule is integral in ensuring the safety of all road users by significantly reducing distractions that could impair a driver’s focus and reaction times. The regulation encompasses all forms of handheld electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and GPS units. The aim is to encourage drivers to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, thereby decreasing the likelihood of accidents caused by distracted driving. Offenders caught violating this law face penalties, including fines and points on their driving record. This measure underscores Indiana’s commitment to fostering a safer driving environment for everyone.

Liability In Truck Accidents

When truck drivers or trucking companies in Indiana violate the established laws and regulations, such as those related to vehicle safety equipment, speed limits, insurance requirements, hours of service, or driving distracted, liability in the event of an accident can be significantly impacted. Here are key ways in which breaking these laws may establish or influence liability in truck accidents:

  • Violation of Safety Regulations: Non-compliance with required safety equipment and speed limit laws can be considered negligence. For example, if an accident occurs due to failed brakes or excessive speed, the driver or the company could be held liable.
  • Insurance Non-Compliance: Not carrying the mandated insurance levels can lead to liability issues, especially if the lack of proper insurance contributes to the inability to cover damages or injuries caused by an accident.
  • Hours of Service Violations: Exceeding allowed driving hours and not taking required rests can lead to driver fatigue, a common cause of accidents. Violating HOS rules can directly point toward the driver or the employer’s negligence.
  • Distracted Driving: Given the strict prohibition of handheld device use, any accident occurring while a driver is using such a device can lead to penalties and be used as evidence of negligence.
  • Failure to Maintain Logs: Inadequate or falsified log keeping regarding driving hours and rest breaks can imply a deliberate attempt to skirt safety regulations, increasing the liability of the trucking company and driver in the event of an accident.

In these situations, establishing liability is crucial for parties seeking compensation for damages or injuries sustained in an accident involving a commercial vehicle. Legal interpretations of these violations can influence the outcome of civil litigation or settlement negotiations, underscoring the importance of adherence to roadway and commercial vehicle operation laws in Indiana.

Injured in a Truck Accident? Doehrman Buba Ring Will Fight For You!

If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident in Indiana, it’s important to seek legal representation from experienced attorneys who understand the complex laws and regulations surrounding commercial vehicles. At Doehrman Buba Ring, our team of skilled lawyers will fight tirelessly for your rights and help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you navigate the legal process.

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