March 1, 2024

Rules Truckers Need to Follow on US Roads

Many people crave the freedom that a life on the road as a trucker promises. Operating a large commercial vehicle on the nation’s highways, however, requires adherence to specific rules and regulations designed to ensure safety for all road users. These rules cover a wide range of areas, from vehicle maintenance to hours of service to driving behavior. Here are five examples of rules that truckers must follow on US roads.

Maintenance 

Truckers are obliged to maintain their vehicles adequately. Commercial vehicles are subject to strict inspection and maintenance requirements to ensure that they are safe to operate on the road. Truckers must perform regular maintenance on their vehicles, including checking brakes, tires, and lights and ensuring that all systems are in good working order. Failure to maintain a commercial vehicle can result in fines, penalties, and even the revocation of a commercial driver’s license.

Working Hours 

The second rule that truckers must follow is hours of service. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets strict limits on the number of hours that a trucker can drive in a day and in a week. These rules are designed to prevent fatigue-related accidents, which can be especially dangerous when operating a large commercial vehicle. Truckers must keep accurate records of their driving time and take mandatory rest breaks to ensure compliance with these regulations. Hours of service laws were first passed in 1938 and have gradually been improved over the years. Before these laws were in place, truckers would regularly work such long hours that they were cognitively compromised behind the wheel. 

Weight Limits 

All truckers must follow federal and state weight limits precisely when carrying truck loads. Commercial vehicles are subject to strict weight limits on the amount of cargo that they can haul. These limits are designed to prevent damage to roadways and bridges and to ensure that commercial vehicles are operating safely. Heavy loads can increase the likelihood of a truck tip. Truckers must carefully load their cargo and ensure that it is properly secured to prevent shifting or falling during transit. No shipping work should be taken on if the shipping contractor is not prepared to provide loads within the legal limits set by the government. 

Behavior

Good behavior on the road is vital. Truckers are subject to the same traffic laws as other motorists, but they must also follow additional regulations designed specifically for commercial vehicles. These include rules about passing, turning, and signaling, as well as restrictions on the use of mobile devices while driving. Truckers must also exercise caution when driving in adverse weather conditions or in construction zones.

Hazardous Loads

Trucks can carry all sorts of dangerous chemicals. Truckers who transport hazardous materials must follow specific rules and regulations designed to prevent accidents and protect public safety. These regulations cover everything from proper labeling and placarding of hazardous materials to the use of specialized equipment and procedures for handling and transporting these materials. Truckers who violate these regulations can face fines, penalties, and even criminal charges.

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