Semitrucks are a constant threat to those in smaller vehicles. All it takes is a momentary lapse in judgment for a truck driver to cause a crash that could demolish a vehicle or kill several people.
Commercial drivers need to secure a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and they must abide by the much stricter rules that apply to such vehicles. As someone who will undoubtedly encounter numerous commercial trucks on the road every week, you may potentially improve your own safety by learning about the different rules that apply to semi-trucks.
You will also have an easier time determining when you may have grounds for an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit if you understand the different rules for commercial trucks.
They are subject to a federal no-texting rule
Not every state in the country has a ban on texting while driving. Some states only have rules that apply to teen drivers, for example. Virginia treats texting like a primary offense, but the same is true in any state for those in semitrucks.
Commercial drivers have to abide by the federal no-text rule that prohibits them from entering data manually into a phone, including dialing a mobile device, while in control of a commercial truck.
They should follow the Hours of Service rules
Although it is likely unsafe to continue driving for many hours on end, nothing legally prevents you from doing so when in control of a personal passenger vehicle. However, the rules are much more strict for those driving commercial vehicles.
Depending on whether the driver has passengers or products in their vehicle, there are different rules limiting how long they can drive without a break and how many hours they can drive on a specific day. Truckers at the wheel for too long may suffer the ill effects of fatigue on their driving abilities, which is why Hours of Service rules are so important for public safety.
They have to maintain a lower BAC
Many commercial trucking companies have very strict internal policies regarding alcohol use. Often, they insist that someone has waited several hours after their last drink before reporting to pick up a load.
Even if the company that employs a driver does not impose such a strict policy, commercial drivers still have to adhere to a much lower limit for their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than the average driver. Although most drivers only have to worry about a drunk driving arrest when their BAC is 0.08% or higher, commercial drivers face arrest, prosecution and the loss of their license for a BAC of just 0.04% or higher.
Truck drivers who violate these and other safety-critical rules could potentially cause serious crashes. Asking for compensation after a commercial trucking crash may require an insurance claim or sometimes a civil lawsuit.