The truck-driving industry is one of the most resilient and lucrative in today’s economy. The reasons for this include the constant demand by consumers for goods that must be transported from the port to the retail center.
Truck driving accidents, however, are some of the most devastating. When a tractor-trailer collides with a car, the results are often fatal. The size and weight of the trucks, combined with the cumbersome way in which they traverse the roads, makes them a force to stay away from on the roadways. The government at the federal and state level have passed rules and regulations to help keep truck drivers safe on the road. Explore some of the ways these rules try to keep everyone behind the wheel safe from a catastrophic crash.
Special Licensing Requirements
Not just anyone can operate a big rig. To ensure that this is not the case, the government has made a special license a prerequisite for driving a semi. A CDL or commercial driver’s license requires a unique course of study, complete with a road test to make sure that the applicant is prepared to handle the demands a semi-truck presents. A trucking company that knowingly employs a trucker who does not possess a CDL is liable for fines and any accidents the driver causes.
Alcohol and Drug Use
A trucker who is found to be operating with any measure of alcohol in their system is immediately suspended. When a police officer pulls a trucker over and administers a breathalyzer, it must register at .00, or the CDL is confiscated. Employers must also perform routine and random drug and alcohol testing of its drivers so that there is no question as to their sobriety.
Hours of Service
One of the most contested regulations on the books dictates how many hours a driver may be actively working before taking a mandatory break. These laws have been on the books for decades, and have been credited with reducing the instances of driver fatigue. However, through the years, drivers have figured out how to circumvent the requirements of their company by falsifying records to make it appear like they took the mandatory rest time when the law warrants it. In recent years, technology has made this workaround much more complicated since computers in trucks record this information and send it to the companies. Drivers have been rallying to have some of the laws relaxed, saying that they are the cause of drivers engaging in riskier behavior.