Commercial truck drivers are held to a higher safety standard when it comes to operating their vehicles. This is because they can be tasked with operating 80,000-pound vehicles that are heavy, large and potentially carrying dangerous cargo. If and when commercial drivers make a mistake or violate state or federal trucking laws, the potential for a catastrophic accident can be very real.
Unless you have a commercial driver’s license, you probably don’t have the same appreciation for or awareness of these laws as those required to comply with them, which is understandable. However, if you are involved in a truck accident, it can be crucial to have some understanding of some common truck violations that can lead to an accident.
Impairment is unsafe for any driver. However, it can be particularly dangerous when a driver is supposed to be in control of a massive vehicle. That is why there are stricter rules in place regarding impaired truck driving. For example:
- Drunk driving thresholds are set lower for commercial drivers than other drivers
- Commercial truck drivers are strictly prohibited from using a handheld cellphone, while drivers of passenger vehicles are permitted to use a handheld phone in Georgia
- Strict Hours of Service regulations are in place to limit the hours a truck driver can be driving to prevent drowsy driving, while no such restrictions are in place for drivers of smaller cars and trucks
There are also additional skills and tests that a truck driver must have in order to be licensed to drive a truck. Operators of a commercial motor vehicle can also be obligated to meet minimum physical requirements to be licensed.
Violating any of these or other trucking-specific requirements can lead to a tragic accident involving other motorists. If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, it can be vital that you discuss the case with an attorney who can help to determine if a truck driver or company was negligent or reckless in the operation of a commercial vehicle.
Source: Georgia Department of Driver Services, “Commercial Driver’s Licensing Requirements Chapter 1,” accessed on April 28, 2015