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Tulsa Personal Injury Lawyers > Blog > Truck Accident > Was the Truck that Caused Your Accident a Commercial Vehicle?

Was the Truck that Caused Your Accident a Commercial Vehicle?


Truck accidents present unique challenges to victims who are attempting to seek compensation after their crash. This is because trucking companies are subject not only to state, but also federal rules and regulations. These regulations often come into play in accident cases, but only if the truck in question qualifies as a commercial vehicle.

Only Certain Trucks Qualify as Commercial Vehicles 

Often, when people hear the term “commercial motor vehicle” they first imagine a semi-truck or tractor trailer. While big rigs do qualify as commercial vehicles, there are many other types of vehicles that satisfy this definition as well. To qualify as a commercial vehicle in the U.S., a vehicle must be:

  • Either self-propelled or towed;
  • Driven on a highway;
  • Used for interstate commerce; and
  • Capable of transporting property or passengers.

Besides these requirements, the vehicle in question must meet certain weight standards. Such vehicles must, for instance, weigh at least 10,001 pounds or have a maximum operating weight that exceeds 10,000 pounds. Alternatively, such a vehicle could qualify as a commercial vehicle if it is used to transport:

  • More than eight passengers for compensation (e.g. buses);
  • More than 15 passengers, but not for compensation (e.g. church vehicles); or
  • Hazardous material.

Vehicles that satisfy these requirements are considered commercial vehicles, which means that they are regulated by the federal government and their drivers must adhere to specific standards.

Whether a Truck Qualifies as a Commercial Vehicle Can Affect Liability for a Crash 

There could be legal implications for a vehicle that falls under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) definition of a commercial vehicle if that vehicle was involved in a crash. This is because commercial truck drivers must follow certain rules when it comes to how long they can drive, when they must take breaks, how often they must conduct inspections and maintenance, and how they go about loading and securing cargo. A driver or trucking company that fails to follow these rules can end up being held liable for any accidents resulting from their action (or inaction). Commercial truck drivers are even subject to different rules in regards to DUIs. For example, most drivers of passenger vehicles are prohibited from driving with a BAC of .08 percent or more. Commercial truck drivers, on the other hand, must abide by the lower threshold of .04 percent, which means that it’s a lot easier for the driver of a commercial vehicle to be held liable for driving under the influence and causing a crash.

Contact a Tulsa Truck Accident Lawyer for Help 

Commercial vehicles often weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and are sometimes tasked with transporting dangerous or hazardous cargo. Unfortunately, this means that any collisions between these vehicles and smaller cars almost always have devastating consequences for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. Such accidents tend to result in catastrophic injuries and property damage, which is why so many accident victims should consider seeking compensation for collisions that were not their fault, but can be attributed to the negligence of another driver or trucking company. If you have questions about this type of legal claim, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experienced Tulsa truck accident lawyers at Levinson Law, P.C. for advice.




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