Commercial Trucks And CDLs In Virginia

As a personal injury attorney in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area specializing in automobile accident cases, I pay a lot of attention to the special rules that apply to trucks. Truck accidents are among the most serious kinds of wrecks and injuries that we see in our practice.

One set of rules about commercial trucks that I have learned in my 25 years of practice is that not every commercial vehicle is being operated by a driver with a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License).

A Commercial Driver’s License indicates a driver has met certain criteria that makes them more safe and more professional on the road particularly in a large dump truck or a tractor trailer.

The CDL requires periodic physicals and there are restrictions if you have certain medical conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, or other problems. The CDL physical makes sure that anybody who is driving a big rig is not going to have a medical problem on the road which could endanger other motorists.

Commercial trucks and CDLs in Virginia

The training required for a CDL is especially important. The large trucks like 18-wheelers handle difficulty to regular passenger cars. The large commercial vehicles don't brake the same way and require longer distances in order to be able to bring the truck to a stop. This and other aspects of commercial truck driving mean that you need to have professionals who are held to a higher standard of care than just regular drivers.

In Virginia, the rule is that the size of the truck matters. If the weight rating of the vehicle is over 10,000 pounds, then it is by definition a commercial vehicle.

If a vehicle weighing that amount or more is used in interstate commerce, meaning across state lines, then it must be operated by a commercial truck driver with a CDL.

Strangely though if it weighs between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds and is only used in Virginia, not crossing the state line at North Carolina, then it can be operated by somebody without a CDL.

This rule does not make a lot of sense but that is what the law requires. So you can have two drivers driving the exact same commercial truck and one of them is required to have all of the training and medical requirements of a CDL and the other is not.

The only difference is whether the truck is used from Chesapeake over the North Carolina line into Moyock, North Carolina.

There are lots of rules like this that are specialized in the world of commercial truck driving.

An experienced personal injury attorney who handles commercial truck cases knows more about these laws than people who do not do that kind of work. Often experts are required to properly prove up what the commercial truck driver did and perhaps more importantly what his company did or failed to do as far as truck fleet safety and training.

I hope you and your family are never injured by a commercial vehicle, but if you are I hope that you will call Cooper Early Injury Lawyers so that we can help you to get the compensation you deserve if you are hurt by a commercial vehicle in Virginia of North Carolina. Call our truck accident team at (757) 455-0077.

John Cooper


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