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Obtaining Relief in a Transportation Law Case

As the world becomes ever more globalized, transportation as an industry and as a legal field continues to evolve. The broad field of transportation law covers most issues arising from a form of transportation. For instance, federal regulations mandate specific rest times required of commercial truck drivers. Each state sets their own insurance minimums required of all drivers licensed to drive in that state. In the sections below, we discuss transportation law in more detail and offer examples of when it is useful to hire a transportation lawyer.

Transportation Law and Types of Cases

Transportation law is the body of law and the legal area of specialization that deals with all forms of transportation and their regulation. Transportation law is governed by federal, state, and local statutes. There is significant federal regulation in the area of transportation law, more so than in many other areas of the law. The Constitution specifically grants Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. There are numerous federal regulatory agencies that oversee the safety and security of transportation in its various forms. These include the:

  • Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA oversees all aspects of air travel and civil aviation, including air traffic management, construction and operation of airports, certification of personnel and aircraft, and the protection of national assets during the launch or re-entry of commercial space vehicles.
  • Federal Highway Administration. The FHWA falls under the purview of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is responsible for constructing and maintaining the national highway system. The FHWA also regulates the transportation of commercial cargo on the highway system and across state lines.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation. The USDOT is the main Cabinet-level department that oversees all the transportation administrations under its authority, including the FAA, the FHWA, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, etc. The stated purpose of the USDOT is to ensure a “fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that…enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.”
  • Maritime Administration. This agency falls within the USDOT and deals with waterborne transportation. Its main functions are maintaining the viability of the U.S. merchant marine and promoting waterborne transportation.

Hopefully, it is becoming clearer that transportation law truly encompasses a wide area of the law. Be it shipping personal or commercial items by road, water, or air, most of the shipping laws in the U.S. fall directly under transportation law. In addition to governance by federal regulation and statute, transportation law is also heavily regulated by state law and local ordinances. For instance, the legality of hitchhiking, which falls under transportation law, differs from state to state and even within different jurisdictions of a state.

What Transportation Attorneys Can Do

Transportation attorneys perform a wide variety of different functions and tasks. Lawyers in this field work for both public agencies and in the private sector. Their services range from ensuring your shipping business or logistics company is in compliance with all applicable federal and state transportation regulations to advocating for a client if their auto or pilot or boating license has been revoked or suspended. Transportation lawyers also work for the government to craft regulations and bring code violators to justice. In the private sector, transportation companies utilize attorneys who specialize in transportation law to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations and protect themselves from liability.

Why You Should Hire a Transportation Attorney

The field of transportation law can be complex and convoluted, with regulatory oversight from both state and federal authority. Transportation lawyers specialize in regulatory compliance, cargo claims, hazardous materials matters, freight charge collection, commercial litigation, and many other transportation related issues. As a business owner in the transportation industry or just someone who may regularly have shipping needs, enlisting the services of a transportation lawyer can be helpful in making sure your actions are in compliance with the law. Additionally, you may be in individual who’s had your vehicle license revoked or suspended. A transportation lawyer can advise you on how to handle the administrative hearing to reinstate your license.

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