Truck accidents are known to cause a huge amount of property damage, as well as several injuries to those who are involved. A truck that is fully equipped can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Meanwhile, a car can weigh up to 3,000 pounds. Serious injuries can and will occur once these two types of vehicles collide. According to one study, trucks account for approximately two percent of all vehicles on the road. They are also the cause of 8% of all road accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Association has regulated a lot of different features of a truck to protect other drivers while on the road. These features include the size and weight of the truck, as well as the behavior of the truck driver. Additional regulations include: 1.) Fully loaded trucks are supposed to weigh less than 80,000 pounds, 2.) Truck drivers are only supposed to be out on the road eleven hours a day, 3.) Truck drivers should only be on duty six hours over seven days, or seventy hours over eight days, and 4.) Truck drivers should only have 34 hours off between each seven or eight day shift.
The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has implemented strict requirements, to ensure the safety of truck drivers as well as other drivers on the road.
Tractor trailers should maintain a commercial driver’s license that is state-issued. Drivers must also be at least 21 years old, and can speak/read English fluently. Drivers must be both physically and medically capable of driving the truck. This includes having a good vision, and no impairment and loss of feeling in the legs, arms, and fingers. Certain medical conditions may prevent drivers from getting a CDL. This includes diabetes, which needs to be controlled with insulin, as well as epilepsy and coronary or respiratory conditions. Drivers must also have a certificate from a medical practitioner, in order to show that the driver is physically able to drive a tractor-trailer.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Operators of CDLs are all required to submit to alcohol testing, and are considered to be driving under the influence if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.04 percent or higher. This amount is lower than the .08% BAC that is considered the standard limit in most US states. Refusal to submit to DUI testing will cause the driver to lose his CDL. The same thing applies to drug testing. Drug testing is required pre-employment and after an accident, regardless of fault.
The driver should greatly reduce the speed of his truck, instead of hitting the brakes. Slamming on the brakes increases the chance of the truck tipping over. Truck drivers should be aware of blind corners. The truck should be inspected thoroughly before driving. Drivers should get a good night’s sleep to avoid getting fatigue. When driving in icy conditions, the driver should keep his truck away from cars in front of him. Trucks should also slow down when driving through work zones. Staying hydrated can also improve concentration, so drivers should always keep a bottle of water with them.