Considering the destructive nature of truck accidents and the severe health hazards imposed on accident victims, federal law has bound truck drivers with some rules to maintain a higher standard of safety and professionalism on the road. While most accidents occur due to unreliable driving habits, including distracted or drowsy driving, several safety methods are taken to envision a reduced rate of truck accidents due to negligence in the coming days.
However, before moving on to the safety standards, it is essential for truck accident victims who have suffered severe injuries as a result of the negligence of a third party to seek compensation or file a lawsuit for legal representation of the case in court after consulting an attorney.
Safety Regulations That Truck Drivers Must Abide By:
Necessary Safety Check Before The Trip:
The regulations for truck drivers generally begin even before getting behind the wheel. This is because the driver needs to check all the vehicle systems, including the electrical, braking, ignition, engine, exhaust, suspension and steering, drive train, and fuel, among many more, to ensure that they are offering safe service and will work efficiently till the end of the journey.
The most important parts that the truck driver needs to focus on are the proper functioning of the following:
- Air brakes
- Hand brake
- Properly inflated tires
- Properly adjusted mirrors
- Appropriate wiper condition
- Clear Windshield
- Fuel tanks
If the driver witnesses a failure in any of these, then it must be fixed immediately by an experienced truck mechanic before the commencement of the journey.
Rules Encompassing Service Hours:
The drivers must always stay aware and awake while driving a truck. Therefore the service hours of the driver have been fixed by the state. According to the rules, the drivers are allowed to drive for eleven hours at a stretch after staying off duty for ten hours. On the other hand, truck drivers carrying property must take a small break of 30 minutes after driving for eight hours.
However, a truck is not allowed to drive more than fourteen hours from reporting to work. These 14 hours don’t include breaks for having meals or refueling. It is also expected from the drivers that they keep track of their working hours for uniformity. The truck driver’s overall duty hours over a period of seven days are also restricted to 60-70 hours.
If the frequency of operation of the vehicles by the trucking company is less than seven days every week, then the drivers are not allowed to drive more than 60 hours, and if they are operated seven days a week, then the limit is 70 hours every week. This clock will automatically reset if the truck driver is off duty for a minimum of 34 hours.
Rules Encompassing Safety Against Any Hazardous Materials:
If the commercial truck contains any hazardous materials, they must be well-packed, labeled and marked to make them ready for transportation. The motor carrier possesses a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit if the material is highly hazardous. This applies to liquified natural gas, liquified methane, either compressed or refrigerated, radioactive materials, a definite amount of explosives, or any other materials that will prove poisonous on inhalation.
Additionally, commercial truck drivers who would deal with highly hazardous materials must also go through some training processes required before driving, which include:
- Appropriate use of safety equipment and personal protective equipment
- Using equipment and engineering controls safely
- Workplace practices that will assist the employees in lowering any risks involved in the handling of highly hazardous materials.
Last but not least, it is essential for the specific commercial trucks that carry hazardous materials to have additional insurance other than a basic one.
Rules Encompassing Drugs And Alcohol:
All truck drivers must abide by the rules laid down for alcohol and drug testing, which include the following:
- Testing before recruitment
- Testing after an accident
- Testing before going to work
- Random or unannounced testing
- Immediate testing in case of any reasonable suspicion
Moreover, the truck drivers must report to the testing site whenever they are called. They would not be allowed to drive the vehicle after failing to do so. The common tests that a truck driver undergoes to abide by federal regulations encompass the following tests:
Regulations Encompassing Cargo Securement:
Truck drivers must also ensure that the cargo is safe and secured using dunnage, tie-downs, or shoring bars. Cargoes that can roll should also be secured with wedges and chocks so they don’t move. Insecure cargo has served as an uprising cause of truck accidents where fellow vehicles or vehicle owners are badly injured.
Additionally, as per the regulations, the truck driver also needs to inspect the condition of the cargo within the first fifty miles after starting the journey and then at a regular distance of 150 miles. Enough opportunity is given to the truck driver so that this safety standard can be maintained successfully.
Regulations To Check Distracted Driving:
Distracted driving is the cause of most road accidents that concern not only trucks but all other vehicles. Often the drivers tend to use cell phones or engage in a conversation over it, which makes the driver shift their focus from the oncoming road and the surroundings, making them vulnerable to accidents.
Therefore the regulations have made it mandatory for truck drivers to refrain from using cell phones or other items responsible for distracting the truck driver.
Regular maintenance and replacement of crucial truck parts play a vital role in these safety measures. From brakes and tires to lighting systems and steering components, upholding these standards not only promotes safer driving but also extends the lifespan of the vehicle, minimizing the risk of accidents and breakdowns.
While all these safety standards can reduce the rate of accidents, they can’t be stopped permanently. Truck accidents are generally devastating that involve costly treatments and long-term medical care. If an accident is caused due to the driver’s fault, compensating for the loss personally would be unfair and frustrating.
But contacting an attorney immediately will help you to claim fair compensation from the insurance provider of the truck owner or the trucking company. The lawyer will not only negotiate and secure the maximum amount of compensation but will also assist one throughout the court procedure. Therefore one can focus on healing without stressing out about the financial burden and court proceedings.