I suppose that it goes without saying that companies are required to make sure their employees know and follow the law. Does anyone really want an employer turning a blind eye to safety violations so the company can earn a few more dollars? This is particularly true when the employee is behinds the wheel of an 80,000 (or greater) pound truck.

In the trucking industry there is actually a contract between the government (and the people it represents, i.e. you and me) and the trucking company. The Contract requires the company to follow safety rules before it ever gets to put a single truck on the road.  It also requires the company to ensure all of its personnel are trained in these rules and requires all commercial drivers to follow the rules. This contract is called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). 

The company must agree to adhere to the FMCSR before it can put a single truck on the road. The company in turn is required to make sure each of its drivers follows and is trained in the FMCSR. The driver is required to sign a receipt for a copy of the FMCSR to keep in his truck so he can refer to them at need. The receipt looks like this: receipt.  

The importance of these safety laws is so critical that the driver, the lowest level employee, must also become signatory to the contract between the the government and the trucking company,. The trucking company must ensure the driver is familiar with the FMCSR before he takes his first truck on the road. Failure to adhere to the safety contract, the FMCSR, by either the driver or the company, eventually results in needless death on our roads.

My friend, Ken Shigley, posted a blog on companies being required train their drivers on the FMCSR not long ago entitled "Ignorance of Trucking Rules No Excuse." 

Some of the laws that Ken points out as applicable include: 

49 C.F.R. § 390.11 requires: “Whenever . . . a duty is prescribed for a driver or a prohibition is imposed upon the driver, it shall be the duty of the motor carrier to require observance of such duty or prohibition. If the motor carrier is a driver, the driver shall likewise be bound.”

49 C.F.R. § 390.3(e) requires that "Every employer shall be knowledgeable of and comply with all
regulations contained in this subchapter which are applicable to that motor carrier’s operations."  It also states that "Every driver and employee shall be instructed regarding, and shall comply with, all applicable regulations contained in this subchapter."

49 C.F.R. § 390.5(e) requires that trucking companies must be familiar with trucking regulations and instruct their drivers, dispatchers and other employees.

49 C.F.R. § 392.1 provides: “Every motor carrier, its officers, agents, representatives, and employees responsible for the management, maintenance, operation, or driving of commercial motor vehicles, or the hiring, supervising, training, assigning, or dispatching of drivers, shall be instructed in and comply with the rules in this part.”