Every driver should adhere to traffic rules and regulations all the time. Failure to do so will mean getting a ticket or a heavier penalty.
Truck drivers, on the other hand, have to follow certain regulations. This is because they’re driving a big vehicle which poses more danger to motorists.
These traffic laws are taught at truck driving schools that offer CDL training. The training course is a basic requirement for people wishing to become professional truck drivers. Completion of the course earns you a certificate that qualifies you to apply for truck driving positions offered by companies engaged in the transport of goods.
In the U.S., the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues all the traffic rules concerning safety of interstate commercial driving. This agency is under the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) which covers industries that involve all kinds of transportation from airlines, shipping, trucking to railroads. Another department that handles other road matters is the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
When it comes to trucks, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversee the road safety of these large vehicles. The NHTSA is responsible for setting standards for new truck equipment and may also cover equipment standard for trucks traveling on highways.
The FMCSA, on the other hand, covers commercial vehicles that travel from one state to another. It handles issues pertaining to equipment, licensing, vehicle inspection and maintenance as well as hours of service.
People aged at least 18 years old are allowed to drive trucks but only within their specific state. Those allowed to drive large vehicles across various states should be at least 21 years old or older.
Hours of service. The FMCSA strictly enforces the rules for hours of service or work hour limits. Under this rule, commercial truck drivers traveling interstate are allowed only to drive 11 hours after which they need to have a 10-hour break. Drivers are also limited to 60 work hours in one week or 70 hours in eight consecutive days.
Long haul truckers are required to bring a logbook wherein they can record their work hours while drivers traveling short distances do not need to bring this.
Alcohol drinking. Although this is not much of a problem for those handling huge vehicles, drinking alcohol is a big no for truck drivers. There are stiff penalties when you are caught to be under the influence of alcohol while driving and could face a lawsuit in the event you get involved in an accident due to alcohol drinking.
Government regulations require carriers to conduct an alcohol and drug test on specific occasions. All carriers are required to conduct a drug contest to commercial drivers applying for their company before hiring them, after crashes take place and on random basis. Alcohol tests, meanwhile, are required after crashes occur and also on random basis.
Radar detectors. This device has long been banned in commercial vehicles that travel across states. The radar detector was found not be very useful as it was only meant to avoid the enforcement of a speed limit.