There are over three million truckers in this country who drive approximately 140 billion miles each year. Truckers are governed by important federal rules that are intended to prevent a truck accident. These regulations are vital for motorists because of the large size differential between an 18-wheel-truck and a passenger vehicle.
Truckers must receive a class A or class B commercial driver’s license. The class depends on the type of vehicle. A CDL helps assure that competent and safe truckers are driving a vehicle with an exceptional weight rating or built to transport many passengers.
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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates and restricts the number of hours that truckers may driver during one task to prevent trucker fatigue. Regulations require the careful logging of hours of service which the trucker must follow.
The FMCSA also engages in other regulation which emphasizes the preeminence of safety over commercial needs. It inspects vehicles for malfunctions that violate its regulations.
During shipping, devices, and apparatus such as brakes, lights, indicator, and emergency signs must be well-maintained and operational. Shipping must follow loading and unloading procedures and have volatile cargo certifications when necessary. Logs need to contain details of driving time and distance.
Hours of service
The FMCSA sets consecutive driving hours to combat driver fatigue which plays a major role in crashes. Drivers may be on the job for 60 hours each week or 70 hours every eight days. But each consecutive time on duty is broken by 10 rest hours. After the 10-hour rest period, driving time is restricted to 11 hours with a complete 14-hour duty. After eight hours, truckers must take a 30-minute break.
These rules have some exceptions which usually depend on road conditions. The adverse driving conditions exception, for example, allows an additional two hours for a commute if there are adverse weather conditions or unforeseen traffic conditions.
Truckers face penalties for violating regulations or causing accidents under certain circumstances. These include mandatory roadside off-time, fines up to $11,000 and a reduction in their safety ratings.
Truckers and trucking companies may also face lawsuits where their negligence causes a crash. An attorney can help trucking accident victims seek compensation for their injuries and losses.