TRUCK DRIVER REGULATIONS

Due to the extensive dangers and risks associated with the trucking industry, both federal and state regulations have been established to ensure a standard of safety among commercial trucking companies and drivers.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is recognized as one of the most dangerous factors contributing to truck-related accidents. Insufficient sleep can impair the vision and judgment of truck operators, making it impossible for them to operate large commercial trucks safely. Hours-of-Service (HOS) refer to an established period of time in which a driver may be on the road. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), commercial truck operators are permitted to driver a maximum of 11 hours only after he/she has had 10 consecutive non-working hours off duty. It is strictly prohibited for a truck operator to drive past 14 hours, or after 60-70 hours within 7-8 consecutive days. According to these regulations, a driver must remain off duty for 34 or more consecutive hours after the 7-8 day week. In terms of a rig containing sleeping quarters, referred to as a sleeper berth, drivers must take at least 8 consecutive hours there, plus an additional two consecutive hours off duty.

Alcohol and Drugs

Regulations against drug and alcohol usage associated with a trucking accident are very strictly enforced. Blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04% is considered intoxicated and truck operators must follow the standard of not consuming alcohol within four hours of operating a large rig. There are no exceptions for the usage any form of narcotics or amphetamines, as all are highly illegal and strictly forbidden.

Load and Cargo Weight

Regulations regarding load and cargo weight state that a truck operator must secure cargo properly ensure equal distribution of trailer contents. Within 50 miles of a trip beginning, drivers must ensure that the load is still secure and safe and subsequent inspections every 3 hours are also required to maintain safe conditions.

Log Books

Maintenance of regularly and accurately updated log books are required by drivers and trucking companies. Included in these log books are often hours-of-service records, equipment maintenance and repairs and any incident that may have occurred. A common issue within the trucking industry is the falsification of log books and records due to pressure placed on drivers to increase the turnaround on their deliveries. Some companies incentivize drivers to shave time off of their deliveries, but a new development in 2012 requires electronic record keeping devices to be installed in all commercial motor vehicles, which will minimize the falsification of records.

Further Regulations

  • Truck operators must comply with seatbelt laws at all times
  • Truck operators must stop within 15-50 feet of a train crossing to determine the location of an oncoming train
  • Truck operators must not shift gears while crossing train tracks
  • Truck operators are forbidden to permit unauthorized persons inside or on the truck unless they are specifically assigned by the carrier or specialize in dealing with cargo contents such as livestock
  • Truck operators are forbidden to use any flame devices, including heaters
  • Truck operators are forbidden to install and use radar detection devices

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