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Are Box Truck Accident Claims Treated Like Semi-Truck Accident Claims?

August 8, 2022

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When most people think of big truck accidents, they tend to think of crashes involving delivery trucks—especially large semi-trucks and large box trucks. However, semi-trucks are usually subject to many guidelines and restrictions that are enforced by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), while only some box trucks are subject to these rules.

That means that when semi-trucks are involved in crashes, there are more opportunities for police, lawyers, and insurers to find evidence of fault on the part of the drivers, the truck owners, and the companies that use the trucks. With box truck accidents, they may be treated similarly to semi-truck crashes—or they may be treated the same as crashes involving passenger vehicles.

In this blog, we’ll look at the differences between box truck crashes that are treated like passenger vehicle crashes and box truck crashes that are treated like semi-truck crashes.

Box Truck Crash Investigations Depend on Weight and Usage

In order to be treated like a semi-truck accident, crashes involving box trucks must meet the following criteria:

  • The box truck is used to transport hazardous materials requiring a safety permit


  • The box truck has a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more


  • The box truck is involved in interstate commerce, which is trade, traffic, or transportation in the U.S. that is
    • Between places located in two different states
    • Between two places in a state that are reached by traveling through another state or outside of the U.S.
    • Between two places in a state as part of trade originating or terminating outside the state or the U.S.

When this criterion is met, the box truck must be issued a USDOT Number. This number is used to collect and monitor a company’s safety information during audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and inspections.

Which Box Trucks Are and Aren’t Treated Like Semi-Trucks After Crashes?

Small box trucks, regardless of their intended usage, typically aren’t required to get USDOT Numbers, and that means they are treated like normal vehicles after crashes. Larger box trucks that are used for local deliveries or moves are also usually not required to get USDOT Numbers.

For example, a crash involving a large box truck that was driven by someone who rented it to haul their furniture across town or even across the country will typically be investigated the same way as a crash involving two sedans.

But if the same large box truck is used to transport goods from Ohio to Michigan or other nearby states, the crash may be investigated more thoroughly, as the truck would be subject to FMCSA regulations. That means that there’s more chances to find fault, whether it’s on the part of the driver, the company using the truck, or the company that owns the truck.

Do You Need a CDL to Drive a Box Truck?

In order to legally drive a semi-truck in Ohio, drivers must possess a commercial driver’s license. However, box trucks typically only require a CDL if they have a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more. Most moving trucks that can be rented by individuals aren’t that heavy, which means that they don’t need a CDL to legally drive them.

When a vehicle requires a CDL to drive, the driver is subject to increased scrutiny. Not only are they required to pass intensive exams that are more difficult and comprehensive than ordinary driver’s license exams, but they also must abide by stricter rules when they’re behind the wheel. In addition, it’s easier for drivers to lose their CDLs or have them temporarily suspended than it is for drivers to lose their standard driver’s licenses after crashes or traffic violations.

Contact Us After a Crash Involving a Box Truck

When innocent people are hurt in crashes involving box trucks, it’s our goal to help them get full compensation. Box truck drivers must be extremely attentive, careful, and cautious on Ohio’s roads, and when they aren’t, they can cause serious and deadly crashes. That’s the case regardless of whether they’re driving the smallest and lightest box trucks or oversized box trucks that require a CDL to drive.

After a box truck accident that wasn’t your fault, contact the Ohio truck accident lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy. We know how to investigate all types of truck crashes in order to get innocent victims the full compensation they’re owed. Get in touch with our experienced legal team today for a free consultation and case review.

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