3 federal trucking rules intended to prevent crashes

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Truck Accidents |

Most traffic laws exist on a state-by-state basis. Every jurisdiction has its own regulations. For example, most states have prohibited texting while driving, but not all of them have. Drivers who travel from one state to another have to be careful to ensure that they know the local regulations and comply with them.

Yet, the federal government does have a few traffic rules in place for those operating commercial vehicles nationwide. Those rules theoretically help reduce the number of collisions that occur between semi-trucks and passenger vehicles. The stricter laws that apply to commercial drivers can help people avoid the worst types of crashes possible.

The federal no-text rule

While the federal government doesn’t prohibit texting while driving in passenger vehicles, there is a very clear policy in place for those operating any type of commercial vehicle. It is against federal standards for commercial drivers to manually handle a device while in control of a motor vehicle. They cannot type in a phone number or respond to a text message without violating that rule. Some drivers do so anyway and could cause collisions as a result.

The Hours of Service rules

Commercial drivers have an incentive to stay out on the road for as long as possible. The more they drive, the more they earn. Many transportation companies are also eager to get loads to clients as quickly as possible. Companies and their employees may not necessarily make safe decisions, which is why the federal government has a how long people can drive commercial vehicles. There are break requirements and limits on drive time each day, as well as every seven or eight-day period.

Lower alcohol standards

The final rule that differs for truck drivers when compared with other motorists is the rule regulating blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Most people are at risk of an arrest if their BAC reaches or exceeds 0.08%. Those operating commercial vehicles could face impaired driving charges with a BAC of 0.04% or higher. Given the higher degree of skill necessary to control a semi-truck, the strict rules make sense. When truck drivers violate those rules, they put themselves and everyone else on the road at risk.

Those involved in semi-truck collisions caused by another’s negligence may have the option of filing insurance claims or possibly even civil lawsuits to recover their losses. Because, ultimately, crashes do occur despite rules in place designed to prevent them.