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Are Box Truck Crashes Treated the Same as Semi-Truck Crashes?

When you hear the phrase “big truck accident,” you probably picture a jackknifed semi-truck or a tractor-trailer that collided with a passenger vehicle. But not all “big trucks” haul trailers. When it comes to transporting freight, box trucks can be ideal, especially in dense urban areas like Oklahoma City. But as with all vehicles, box trucks can be involved in serious accidents. And the bigger the box truck, the more likely it is that the people in the other vehicle will be seriously injured.

When semi-trucks and tractor-trailers are involved in crashes, more scrutiny is involved. That’s because those trucks are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which plays a part in determining liability. Box trucks are a little different.

Although they often serve the same purpose as semi-trucks, they are typically much smaller and lighter. However, some box trucks ARE subject to FMCSA safety regulations, and if you’re involved in a crash with one, determining if it’s subject to those regulations is essential.

Which Box Trucks Are Subject to FMCSA Regulations?

If you’ve ever moved to a new apartment or house, you probably used a box truck to get your items from point A to point B. And because someone moving from a studio apartment will have much fewer items than someone moving from a 5-bedroom home, there are different size box trucks to accommodate all types of moves.

Box trucks can range in size from 10 feet to 26 feet in length. The smallest box trucks typically weigh around 8,500 lbs., while the largest box trucks can weigh up to or even over 26,000 lbs., which is the maximum weight for ALL box trucks that can be driven without a CDL. And because box trucks weighing at least 10,000 lbs. have the potential to be subject to FMCSA regulations, virtually all box trucks fall in this category.

FMCSA Regulations Only Apply in Certain Circumstances

Just because a box truck weighs or exceeds 10,000 lbs. doesn’t automatically mean it or its driver is subject to FMCSA regulations. Box trucks are only subject to those regulations if they are used to engage in interstate commerce, which means that they are used for business activities for which it regularly crosses state lines.

That means if you’re involved in a crash with a driver who is using a box truck to move their personal items, or it’s used by a business for local deliveries, FMCSA regulations probably aren’t applicable. But if you’re involved in a crash with a box truck that’s used to transport food, beverages, office supplies, home goods, and other consumer or industrial products, especially across state lines, FMCSA regulations may be enforced.

What FMCSA Regulations Apply to Interstate Commerce Box Trucks?

Box trucks that meet FMCSA criteria are subject to the same requirements as semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. These requirements include:

  • Controlled substance and alcohol testing for CDL-carrying drivers of box trucks weighing over 26,000 lbs.
  • Passing driver qualifications, including medical exams
  • Up-to-date Vehicle maintenance
  • Hours of service records and compliance, including not exceeding the 14-hour driving window limit, 11-hour total driving limit, and 60-hour/7-day or 70-hour/8-day limits
  • Following specific inspection and repair procedures

How Are Non-FMCSA-Regulated Box Truck Crashes Handled?

If you’re involved in a crash with a box truck that isn’t regulated by the FMCSA or subject to its restrictions and you decide to pursue compensation, your claim will proceed just as it would if the other vehicle was a standard passenger vehicle. However, you may be eligible to file a claim against the business utilizing the truck, especially if the driver was unlicensed or the truck wasn’t safe to drive.

All Box Truck Crashes Are Different, So Protect Yourself by Getting a Lawyer!

Passenger vehicle crashes and semi-truck crashes are typically cut-and-dry in that it’s clear from the outset what type of obligations all parties involved with those vehicles have in regards to obeying rules of the road. But box trucks are different, as some are also subject to FMCSA safety regulations and some aren’t.

This determination can make a huge impact on your claim if you’re involved in a crash with a box truck, and without an experienced Oklahoma truck accident lawyer on your side, you may be unable to tell the difference or pursue a compensation claim at all. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the legal team at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers if you have questions after a collision with a truck—we’re here to help you get the money you’re owed after your box truck accident injuries.