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Trucking Safety 2017-09-14T22:03:04+00:00

Trucking Safety Rules & Regulations Protect Both Truck and Automobile Drivers

To prevent accidents, the commercial trucking industry is highly regulated on both federal and state levels. Although playing by the rules is expensive and time consuming, most truckers abide by federal and state laws and regulations. Risk of accidents occurs when truckers and trucking companies are tempted to “cut corners” through:

  • Driver lack of rest
  • Driver lack of proper training and experience
  • Reckless driving
  • Oversized loads
  • Improper truck maintenance
  • Insufficient safety systems

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

Trucks and other vehicles engaged in interstate traffic are governed by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 C.F.R. §§350-399).

Truck Driver Hours (49 C.F.R. §395)

This federal law limits hours an interstate truck driver may drive in non-hazardous and in inclement weather. It also regulates the amount of time that must be allowed for the following activities:

  • Dispatch waiting time
  • Non-resting or sleeping time inside truck
  • Loading/Unloading time
  • Repair time
  • Urine and blood sample time
  • Non driving work time
  • Compensation work time

Truck Maintenance (49 C.F.R. §396)

Commercial vehicles carrying over 16 people, weighing over 10,000 pounds or transporting hazardous materials must:

  • Inspect vehicle at the start of each day
  • Report any vehicle defects
  • Keep repair and inspection logs 

Hazardous Materials (49 C.F.R. §397)

An operator or a commercial motor vehicle carrying explosives may not:

  • Leave the vehicle unattended
  • Park in certain places
  • Smoke within 25 feet of the truck

Alcohol and Drugs (49 C.F.R. §382)

The following commercial drivers are subject to regular alcohol and drug testing:

  • Drivers who tow more than 10,000 pounds
  • Drivers of a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds
  • Drivers carrying 16 passengers or more
  • Drivers hauling hazardous materials

Standards and Penalties (49 C.F.R. §383)

Commercial drivers must know:

  • Safe vehicle operation procedures
  • The effects of fatigue, poor vision, alcohol or drug use
  • How to use the truck emergency equipment

Driver Qualifications (49 C.F.R. §391)

Commercial truck drivers of vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds, carrying 16 or more passengers or transporting hazardous materials must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Speak English
  • Be physically able
  • Have a valid CDL

Commercial drivers must not have:

  • Driven under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Committed a felony
  • Left an accident scene
  • Refused an alcohol test

Commercial Driving, Generally (49 C.F.R. §392)

Commercial drivers must:

  • Obey traffic laws
  • Load cargo safely
  • Perform periodic inspections
  • Drive cautiously in hazardous conditions
  • Be able to stop before reaching railroad tracks

Commercial drivers must not:

  • Drive while sick
  • Use illegal drugs
  • Shift while crossing railroad tracks