As a motorist, sharing the road with 18 wheelers and other large commercial trucks can be a daunting experience. These vehicles often weigh several tons and you must depend on the drivers of these vehicles to keep you safe as you travel along with them on highways and freeways. Fortunately, truck drivers are governed by several federal regulations that help ensure not only their own safety, but that of everyone around them.
- Keeping Accurate Driving Logs
Truck drivers who carry goods and materials from state to state operate under federal guidelines that include keeping a true and accurate log of their driving hours. This especially applies to full-time drivers who work seven or eight consecutive days. Local law enforcement may impose fines on truckers who cannot produce logbooks when asked, and companies that do not ensure their drivers keep accurate laws may be subject to fines and other punishments as well.
- Restricted Driving Schedules
Under federal law, commercial truck drivers must obey certain driving laws related to how many consecutive hours they can travel. Full-time drivers can haul loads 11 hours per day, but they must have rested 10 hours previously. Drivers cannot operate a commercial truck after driving 60 hours during a seven-day period. If a driver wishes to resume travel, he or she must rest for 34 hours before getting back behind the wheel.
- Drug Testing
Commercial truck drivers are typically subject to drug and alcohol testing as long as they hold a valid CDL and apply for or work in the industry. In most cases, drivers may be tested as a prerequisite for employment or if drug or alcohol use is suspected during the course of employment. Drivers are also subject to testing if they are involved in or cause an accident, especially when there are fatalities involved.
- Break Periods
Once a driver comes on duty, he or she must take a break after driving eight consecutive hours. This regulation is designed to combat driver fatigue, which can lead to a slower response time or falling asleep at the wheel. The length of this break is typically no less than 30 minutes, where the driver can enjoy a meal, a short nap, and stretch his or her legs. Drivers must usually notate these breaks in their logbooks.
Federal commercial trucking regulations are designed to keep everyone on the road safe, but when an accident happens, the results can be devastating. Contact a lawyer, like a truck accident lawyer in Indianapolis, IN from Ward & Ward Law Firm, today for further information and assistance.