State Rules and Regulations for Trucking Within Illinois
Interstate trucking refers to the transportation of goods across state lines. This means a trucker might take a load of furniture made in Illinois to a distribution center out in Colorado. Intrastate trucking refers to commercial transportation of goods within the state of Illinois’ boundaries and that do not leave the state in order to complete delivery.
Interstate trucking tends to deal more with the moving of goods long distance, as the definition implies. While intrastate trucking refers to both the moving of goods around the state and other forms of local trucking like delivery trucks, garbage trucks, and tow trucks.
What Accidents Involve Intrastate Truckers?
Commercial trucking laws are very different from the laws that apply to general motor vehicles like passenger cars and light trucks. As a general rule, trucking laws are much more detailed and stringent.
This is because accidents involving large trucks can be extremely serious and often cause serious injuries and death. Truck accidents involving smaller vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries for the passenger vehicle occupants, including brain injuries, back and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other major trauma like burns, amputations, and crush injuries.
These types of injuries can happen just as easily with intrastate trucks as they can with trucks that travel long distances.
What is the difference between intrastate and interstate trucking?
The difference between intrastate and interstate trucking is the distance the driver is traveling, whether they are crossing state lines, and the type of cargo or truck they are carrying.
Inter- is a prefix that means “between”, so interstate means between states.
Interstate truckers usually drive large commercial vehicles while transporting cargo with a far away final destination.
Intra- is a prefix that means “within or inside”, so intrastate means with the state.
Intrastate trucking stays within the state of Illinois and does not refer only to the transportation of goods and materials but can also refer to local deliveries or trash pickup. Intrastate trucking does not cross state lines at any point.
Are Intrastate and Interstate Trucking Regulations Different?
The biggest difference between interstate trucking and intrastate trucking lies in the laws, rules, and regulations that apply depending on which type of transportation is being referenced.
If you’re an interstate trucker, you must follow the federal rules created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) as well as state rules and regulations for the state you are currently driving through.
If you exclusively operate as an intrastate trucker in Illinois, you would need to follow both federal regulations and the commercial trucking laws of the state of Illinois. These laws and regulations are set by the Illinois Department of Transportation and a few other agencies.
Do Commercial Trucks Present Specific Safety Issues?
Commercial trucks log millions of miles on state and federal highways, and these trucks present special challenges when it comes to safety because of their large mass, and because of their necessary and ubiquitous presence on the nation’s roads alongside much smaller vehicles, including passenger cars and motorcycles.
While most vehicle laws are designed to prevent any type of vehicle accident, the avoidance of accidents involving commercial trucks earns special attention from state and federal regulators because of the potential for very serious injury, property damage, and traffic disruption that can be caused by these large vehicles and the loads they carry.
Interstate truckers are primarily regulated by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), under regulations published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Commercial vehicles that operate interstate, such as many moving companies, freight carriers, and interstate passenger busing companies, must comply with all of these regulations. Further, there are often updates to the regulations to reflect the latest information regarding vehicle and operator safety.
However, states, including the state of Illinois, also regulate commercial trucks. While federal law still applies for certain types of trucks—primarily commercial trucks that have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of over 18,000 lbs.—that operate intrastate (that is, only within one state), state law is the primary regulatory mechanism for regulating intrastate commercial trucks.
Federal vs State Trucking Regulations
Whether you are a trucker who travels from state to state, or a trucker that never leaves Illinois, there are certain rules and restrictions that you have to follow.
Depending on where you’re driving (in state or out of state), you will have to follow different guidelines.
Who Regulates Interstate Trucking and What Are the Rules?
If you’re an interstate trucker, you will follow the regulations laid out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), as mentioned above.
They put into place different regulations and safety programs to keep commercial truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers safe on the roads at all times.
Some of the regulations and programs they’ve implemented include:
- Safety Measurement System
- Pre-Employment Screening Program
- New Entrant Safety Assurance Program
- Federal Hazardous Materials Safety Permit Program
The Safety Measurement System updates once a month with data from roadside inspections. It measures driver and vehicle violations as well as crash reports involving commercial trucks from the last two years.
The Pre-Employment screening program helps employers make more informed decisions when it comes to hiring drivers. They give companies access to driver inspection from the past three years and crash history from the past five years. This can help prevent employers from hiring dangerous or negligent drivers.
The Hazardous Materials Safety Permit program is used by both intrastate and interstate motor carriers that transport certain types of hazardous materials. To obtain this certification, carriers must maintain a certain level of safety in their operations. They must also follow all hazardous materials guidelines set by the FMCSA. These hazardous materials include cargo that could potentially harm the public and the environment, like explosive hazards, projection hazards, fire hazards, and dangerous gases.
Federal Regulations on Drivers and Companies
The FMCSA also sets the guidelines that interstate truckers must follow at all times. These guidelines are laid out for both the trucking companies and the truck drivers.
For example, there are specific rules in place for the number of hours a trucker can operate within a week and how long drivers can be on the road per day.
Before they can start a shift, a driver must have taken 10 consecutive hours off duty before they get on the road. Once their shift begins, a driver can only be on-duty for 14 consecutive hours, but they must break every 8 hours and drive for no more than 11 hours at a time. That means they must take at least one break during a 14 hour shift to avoid driving for more than 11 hours in a single go.
FMCSA also requires that “every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain…all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment [that they control]”.
Basically, trucking companies are required to make sure that their trucks and other equipment are in good working condition before allowing drivers to take them on the road.
The FMCSA also has guidelines for drug and alcohol use. They state that no driver should drink or use any drugs while on duty. And employers must have no knowledge that their driver is drinking or using drugs while working.
Drivers may not drink alcohol four hours before performing safety-sensitive functions on the job, including loading, inspecting, or operating a vehicle.
Following an accident, drivers may not use alcohol for eight hours, or until they undergo a post-accident alcohol test.
Who Regulates Intrastate Trucking in Illinois?
Unlike with state-to-state trucking, intrastate trucking is controlled within the state of Illinois by a few different agencies. Intrastate truckers have to follow the rules of the agencies below that apply to them as well as the rules laid out by FMCSA.
Some of the agencies responsible for creating and governing Illinois trucking regulations include:
- Illinois Department of Transportation
- Illinois Commerce Commission
- Illinois State Police
- Department of Revenue
- Secretary of State
- Illinois Pollution Control Board
- Illinois EPA Bureau of Air
- Illinois General Assembly
While federally there is only one department that makes and governs the laws necessary for intrastate drivers, within the state of Illinois there are many different departments and teams that work on these rules and regulations.
In Illinois, for intrastate truckers, the Department of Transportation is the most instrumental in creating these regulations, outlined in the Illinois Vehicle Code (IVC).
What Are the Rules Intrastate Trucks Must Follow?
Intrastate trucking companies in Illinois are required to follow size and weight limits for their trucks. Trucks, depending on their size and number of axles, are restricted by how much weight they can carry and what laws they have to follow.
The larger the truck and the more it weighs, the more likely it is to be dangerous to other drivers on the road.
The IVC is also in charge of the requirements for becoming a truck driver in the state of Illinois. You must be over 21 to qualify for an interstate Class D License (CDL), but people 18 and over can qualify for an intrastate CDL.
Illinois also decides the fines for breaches in their laws. For example, drivers will face a $100 fine if their vehicle is overweight by 2,000 pounds. For every additional 500 pounds after that, the fine increases by an additional $100.
While Illinois applies its own regulations to intrastate truckers, drivers in Illinois are still required to be aware of and follow federal regulations set forth by the FMCSA. Illinois state troopers are trained to enforce both federal and state laws.
The Illinois Truck Enforcement Association was founded in 2009 to help support police officers in enforcing these laws. The Illinois Department of Transportation has also recently increased funding to the enforcement and inspection of trucks so that they can crack down on dangerous trucking practices, such as overweight trucks, poor maintenance of trucks, fatigued driving, and distracted driving.
Do Commercial Trucks Operate Mostly within the State of Illinois?
Some common commercial trucks that usually only operate intrastate include:
- Garbage trucks
- Local delivery trucks
- Some intrastate moving trucks
- Dump trucks
- Gas trucks
- Water trucks
- School buses
- Fire trucks and fire engines
- Local transit buses
These types of vehicles, when they operate only intrastate within the state of Illinois, are subject to Illinois commercial trucking laws. These laws may cover a wide variety of matters that deal not only with who may drive, but how trucks must operate, and the requirements that trucking companies must meet.
Such conditions may include:
- Special speed limits on highways for trucks
- Weight load limits, including limits on towed cargo
- Load tie-down requirements
- Driving age (under federal law, interstate truckers must be at least 21 years old, but the legal age for intrastate commercial trucking in Illinois is 18) for commercial drivers licenses
- Special drivers tests
- Towing limits
- Special regulations depending upon the type of cargo (for example, hazardous materials)
- Vehicle safety equipment requirements
- Vehicle inspection and maintenance requirement
- Driver drug and alcohol testing;
- Lower Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limits
- Driver background checks
- Insurance requirements
- Driver hours-of-service limitations
- Approved trucking routes
Trucking companies must comply with all of these regulations in order to operate lawfully within the state of Illinois. The failure to comply with these laws can lead to fines and other sanctions by state regulators. In addition, if a trucker or trucking company is in violation of these laws—such as failing to properly secure a cargo load, or driving longer than regulations allow— and, as a result of the violation, causes an accident which leads to injury or death, the trucking company may be liable in negligence to the injured party.
Do Commercial Truck Drivers Have Incentive to Drive Unsafely?
The regulations which govern commercial trucks are well-defined and stringent, and both state and federal regulators are fairly strict on inspection and enforcement. However, at the same time, trucking companies operate under other pressures which can lead them to “cut corners” when it comes to regulations.
Naturally, trucking companies need to deliver their goods on time and in good condition. While this is normal and acceptable, trucking companies also want to keep their costs down in meeting these requirements. That means that they may pressure drivers to:
- carry extra cargo
- drive longer hours
- drive faster than the speed limit or conditions allow
- hurry their way through inspections or in tying down loads
And when truckers do not follow these regulations, it is not uncommon for accidents to occur.
In Illinois, there were 122 deaths and 2,235 injuries in accidents involving big rigs and buses in 2018. Of these, only 19 fatalities were the occupants of these large vehicles. This means that a majority of deaths and injuries in a truck accident are the ones in the passenger vehicle, not the truck.
If Injured, Should You Contact an Experienced Intrastate Truck Crash Attorney in Chicago?
If you are involved in an accident involving a commercial truck, or someone you love is killed in an accident involving a commercial truck, contact Abels & Annes, P.C.. Our Chicago Intrastate Truck Accident Lawyers know that how and where you proceed to obtain recovery for your injuries may depend to a large degree upon the particular state or federal laws that apply to the vehicle involved. In order to obtain all the damages to which you may be entitled, it is important that you retain an experienced truck accident attorney who is familiar with both state and federal trucking laws and regulations.
To obtain a free consultation on your trucking accident injury, contact Abels & Anne, P.C. at (312) 924-7575, or you may use the online form right here on this page. Remember, your consultation is free, and there is no obligation to work with our firm. Finally, you will never pay a fee unless and until there is a financial recovery on your behalf.