When a commercial vehicle collides with a four-wheeled passenger vehicle, the results can be catastrophic. Public safety organizations, lawmakers and even professional drivers have an interest in limiting how frequently crashes between commercial and passenger vehicles occur.
The federal government has instituted numerous rules intended to reduce an individual’s personal risk of getting into a crash with a commercial truck during their daily commute. States laws also often impose different rules for commercial vehicles.
There are numerous rules intended to reduce the likelihood of a commercial vehicle causing a severe collision. What traffic laws help protect people in smaller vehicles?
1. Hours of Service rules
There are limits on how long a commercial driver can be on the road in a single shift and also how many work hours they can have in a given day. There are different rules for those transporting materials as opposed to those transporting people, and violations can lead to fines and possibly liability for any crash cost by a driver’s fatigue.
2. No-texting rules
While rules about phone use at the wheel exist on a state-by-state basis, there is a federal rule for those driving commercial trucks. It is illegal for anyone in control of a commercial vehicle to manually use a phone or other different device. The law not only prohibits typing out a text message or making use of a social media app but also manually dialing the phone. The idea is to minimize distraction and help ensure that commercial drivers can quickly respond to changing traffic conditions.
3. Strict intoxication rules
Typically, anyone who gets behind the wheel with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at risk of a drunk driving arrest even if they don’t cause a crash. For most people, the limit for their BAC is 0.08%.
However, the rule for truck drivers is twice as strict. The police could arrest a commercial driver for a drunk driving offense when their BAC is just 0.04%. Any detectable amount of alcohol can lead to them getting taken off the road for at least 24 hours. They may notice zero signs of intoxication with a BAC at that level, but they would still fail a breath test and face the loss of their commercial license, as well as criminal penalties.
Despite all of the rules intended to prevent commercial truck crashes, professional drivers still make mistakes that lead to people getting hurt out on the road. Learning more about the special rules that apply to big rigs and other commercial vehicles can help you take the appropriate steps if you get hurt in a crash caused by a large truck.