What Rules and Regulations do Truck Drivers Need to Follow?
Road shipping industries encompass a country-wide monolith of commercial cargo vehicles. The work done by more than three million truckers in the US bridges the life-blood of America’s commercial pursuits, literally driving the capital of the country. Due to the industry’s use of national road-ways – melding in with every citizen’s own commute – truckers must adhere to explicit safety regulations to ensure the uninterrupted transit of all drivers. Noting that truckers may cumulatively travel up to 140 billion miles a year, these regulations are as relevant as they are life-saving.
The first bar truckers are expected to cross before taking to the road is the commercial driver’s license (CDL). The CDL has either a class A or class B license depending on the type of vehicle. The license ensures that unsafe drivers aren’t behind the wheel of a vehicle with an exceptional weight rating or one which is built to transport many passengers.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency within the Department of Transportations (DOT). Its main objective is to regulate and limit the number of hours a trucker is allowed to drive during any one task in order to limit driver fatigue. Hours of service must be carefully logged and followed by the trucker, allocating time for rest. Making sure that the driver has had enough rest is one of the most crucial ways to limit truck accidents.
The FMCSA also regulates and manages other specific trucking safety regulations. It inspects the driver’s vehicle for any malfunction in its regulatory standards. Breaks, lights, indicators, emergency signs, and other parts of the apparatus must be maintained and operational during the course of shipping. The shipment itself must undergo loading and unloading procedures, certifications for volatile cargo, and logs detailing the time and distance spent on the road – all of which the driver is responsible for. Truckers aren’t just drivers. They manage the safety of the vehicle, the cargo, themselves, and others. The FMCSA ensures that truckers acknowledge these responsibilities over the wants and wishes of suppliers.
Hours of Service Adherence and Exceptions
For all intents and purposes, consecutive driving hours are fixed and mandated by the FMCSA. Drivers are strictly allowed to be on-the-job for 60 hours a week or 70 hours every eight days, provided each consecutive time on duty is broken apart by 10 hours of rest. After every 10 hour rest, driving time is allowed but limited to 11 hours with a complete 14-hour duty. After the 8th hour, drivers must take a 30-minute break.
There are exceptions to these rules, often depending on the circumstances of the road. For instance, the Adverse Driving Conditions exception provides an additional two hours for the commute in the event of adverse weather conditions or unforeseen traffic incidents.
Penalties of breaking regulations
It is no secret that truckers are expected to drive at a high standard with negligible compensation for the magnanimous effort and conditioning they need in order to work through an extremely fixed routine.
Truckers who can’t manage this strain or have otherwise been the victims of a circumstance of events leading to an accident while on duty can be penalized. These penalties include forced roadside off-time, even fines of up to 11,000 dollars, and a decrease of their safety ratings – all for breaking FMCSA regulations. Truckers are wont to evade these penalties and balance the rigorous duty they are tasked with, but, should they show signs of negligence of other drivers or themselves, advocated against to ensure the safety of the road.