Despite their size, because commercial trucks are so commonplace on roads today, it can be easy to forget that they’re even there. It can also be hard to remember that there is someone behind the wheel of these massive vehicles, and their job isn’t just to get their load from one point to another. Beyond transporting cargo, truck drivers are also trusted with the task of keeping the public safe, and they have industry laws they follow to help do so. Unfortunately, these standards are not always adhered to and accidents happen. Nashville truck accident lawyers at Larry R. Williams, PLLC, note that these are the most commonly violated truck driving laws by drivers.
Hours of Service Violations
Violating the legal amount of time a truck driver can be driving can either be the fault of the driver or their employer. This is a breach of safety that makes the road a risk for everyone and increases the likelihood of collision tenfold. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration details the hours of service laws for all drivers operating commercial motor vehicles. Here are the property-carrying vehicle HOS regulations:
- Drivers have an 11-hour driving limit but must have had 10 hours off-duty beforehand.
- A 14-hour driving time is the maximum amount of hours permissible for a truck driver to be behind the wheel.
- Once a driver has driven for 8 hours, they must take a 30-minute break.
- You may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in seven or eight consecutive days.
- You must sleep at least 7 of the 10 hours required between drives.
- The 11-hour driving limit can be extended to 14 when weather conditions prevent the driver from traveling quickly.
- The short-haul exception clause allows for drivers to be exempt from requirements if they are in a 150 air-mile radius of their location, and the drive does not exceed 14 hours.
Lane Usage Abuse
Certain lanes on the road are meant for large trucks, and when those lanes are not abided by, trucks can pose a hazard on the road for smaller cars. The rightmost lane on the freeway is a common example of a truck-friendly lane, and even has a different speed limit indication. If a truck enters a fast lane and increases its speed, the truck could lose its cargo, tip over, and injure others on the road.
Approved Route Violation
If you’ve ever been behind the wheel of a car, chances are that you have seen signs pertaining to truck drivers regarding where they are either allowed or not allowed to drive. These route signs are specifically made for truck drivers to follow and are considered an approved route so that they don’t drive their trucks on streets, neighborhoods, or highways that weren’t designed for them. So, when truck driver violates their approved route because it’s faster or they were being negligent, they are putting other drivers at risk by driving their rig in a non-approved area that is more likely to cause an accident.
Inaccurate Logbook Reporting
What most people don’t know about the truck driving business is all of the documentation that drivers are expected to do along their route. Keeping an extremely accurate logbook of their timing and route is a crucial part of the job, and they are even expected to present their logbook to law enforcement at any time. However, keeping a perfect logbook isn’t always the easiest or most convenient thing to do while on the road, which is why some drivers may generalize or even lie. Doing so, however, is incredibly risky as it can put the trucker’s job at risk or face being fined thousands of dollars.
Improper Cargo Loading
Improperly loading cargo in a commercial truck can be extremely dangerous for a number of reasons. Not only can it be distracting for the driver, but as described by the accident attorneys at Shaw Cowart, it can also lead to rollover accidents, damaged products, and more. Nevertheless, it’s not unusual for companies to do so. This is because cutting corners in terms of loading cargo can be a way for trucking companies to save both time and money. And, even though there are overloading regulations in place, some truck companies are willing to risk a fine or potentially an accident rather than be delayed or make more work for themselves.