Essential Laws That Every Truck Driver Should Know

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  • The trucking industry plays a crucial role in the U.S. economy, with an increasing need for safe drivers.
  • Special laws such as Hours of Service rules, weight limits, and drug testing apply to truck drivers.
  • Distracted driving and seat belt regulations are essential safety measures for truck drivers.
  • Truck drivers should seek legal and medical help in case of an accident, document the incident, and contact insurance.
  • Prioritizing health, safety, and adherence to laws is paramount in the truck driving profession.

Driving a truck can be a challenging task, and it comes with a lot of responsibilities. As a truck driver, one must be aware of laws that apply specifically to them. These laws are implemented to ensure the truck driver’s and everyone else’s safety on the road. Additionally, adhering to these laws can prevent legal issues that could cost time and money. Here’s what you need to know about truck drivers today, what every law truck driver should know about, and what you should do if you’ve been injured in a truck accident.

Truck Drivers Today

It’s estimated that there are about 1.8 million truck drivers in the United States, most long-haul truckers. These numbers are expected to increase in the coming years due to the growing demand for goods and services nationwide.

As a result, there is an increasing need for safe and skilled truck drivers on the road. The trucking industry also faces challenges such as driver shortages and high turnover rates, making it more important for truck drivers to stay informed and up-to-date on the laws governing their profession.

Laws Every Truck Driver Should Know

Apart from general traffic laws, specific laws apply only to commercial truck drivers. Here are some of them:

1. Hours of Service Rules

Hours of Service (HOS) rules regulate the number of hours truck drivers can drive without taking a break. These rules exist to prevent fatigued driving accidents. According to these rules, drivers can drive continuously for a maximum of 11 hours after a rest period of 10 consecutive hours. Drivers can drive for another three hours but must take a break of at least 30 minutes before going on. Understanding HOS regulations is critical, as failing to follow these guidelines can result in hefty fines and even revocation of the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Truck on the road going fast

2. Maximum Weight Limits

Truck drivers need to know the maximum weight limit in their jurisdiction. Every state has different laws regarding maximum weight limits. Truck drivers who exceed the maximum weight limit may be fined, and their vehicles may be impounded. In some cases, drivers who exceed the limit could also have their CDL license suspended. Violating these weight restrictions could damage roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, resulting in longer-term repairs and even loss of lives.

3. Drug and Alcohol Testing

Drug and alcohol testing is a mandatory requirement for every truck driver. DOT drug testing programs screen for four different classes of drugs: marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and opiates. A driver who fails the drug test or even fails to take it can be terminated from employment. Additionally, there are strict laws regarding alcohol consumption while driving a truck.

4. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is operating a vehicle while engaging in any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road. As a truck driver, staying focused on the road is essential to avoid accidents. While some companies prohibit using phones while driving, it’s essential to be polite and respectful of the laws in each state, which prohibit texting or using mobile phones while driving.

5. Seat Belt Regulations

One of the most straightforward safety procedures that any driver should follow is wearing a seatbelt. In many states, it is mandatory for truck drivers and all other vehicle operators to wear seat belts while driving. Not wearing a seatbelt could lead to a fine and, in the case of an accident, severe injuries or even death.

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Truck Accident

Despite all the safety regulations and precautions, accidents involving trucks still occur. If you’re injured in a truck accident, there are a few things you should do to ensure your well-being and protect your rights.

Lawyer at work

Call Your Lawyer

Every truck driver should know a legal professional. You can look for experienced trucking lawyers or get referrals from other truck drivers. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure you receive fair compensation for injuries sustained.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you don’t feel any immediate pain, seeking medical attention after a truck accident is essential. Some injuries may not be apparent immediately, and getting checked by a healthcare professional can prevent any long-term health issues.

Document the Accident

If you’re physically able to do so, try to document the accident scene. Take photos or videos of the vehicles involved, and note down any witnesses’ contact information. This documentation will be valuable when filing a claim.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. They will guide you on the steps and assist you with any necessary paperwork.

Take Time to Recover

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it’s crucial to prioritize your health and recovery. Take the time you need to heal before getting back on the road as a truck driver. Your well-being should always come first.

Safety and adherence to laws are paramount for truck drivers. It’s about understanding and following the rules and maintaining a high standard of professionalism. Truck drivers are crucial in the economy, transporting goods and services nationwide. Being aware of the laws that govern their profession and knowing what steps to take in case of an accident is essential. Despite the challenges, the role of a truck driver can be rewarding with the right mindset and commitment to safety. Remember, the road to success is always under construction. Stay safe, and keep trucking.

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