The operators of semi-trucks cause some of the worst collisions that occur every year. They are often responsible for multi-vehicle conclusions when they experience rollover or jackknife incidents. Additionally, commercial trucks themselves can cause absolute devastation to smaller vehicles, regardless of whether their operators are to blame for a particular collision or not.
Given how dangerous they are, most people understand that the federal government needs to have strict rules for 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles. Many federal traffic laws that apply to commercial vehicles are different than the state rules that govern most traffic. The three special laws noted below all serve to reduce the number of collisions that occur between semi-trucks and passenger vehicles on U.S. roads.
1. The no-texting rule
While most states have now implemented laws against texting while driving, there isn’t a federal rule that applies to the average driver. However, there is a federal traffic rule in place for those in control of commercial vehicles. No manual phone use whatsoever when operating a commercial vehicle is legal. Even dialing a phone manually could be enough to trigger a citation that could potentially cost someone their commercial driver’s license.
2. The Hours of Service rules
Fatigue can diminish someone’s decision-making ability and increase their reaction times. Motorists who are drowsy while driving can easily make mistakes. To prevent commercial transportation companies from forcing drivers to stay on the road well past when it is safe to do so, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has adopted Hours of Service rules that specifically limit how long individual drivers can remain at the wheel.
3. Stricter alcohol limits
Most adults who can legally drink could get arrested for drunk driving when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Given how much more skill it takes to safely operate commercial vehicles, the BAC limit for those in a semi-truck is far lower. Commercial drivers could end up arrested with a BAC of just 0.04% even if they do not display signs of impairment at the wheel.
These strict rules help to limit the likelihood of deadly crashes occurring between commercial and passenger vehicles. Learning about the systems in place to reduce semi-truck collisions can benefit those who are trying to stay safe on the road and those who are trying to pinpoint the likely cause of a recent wreck with the assistance of a legal professional.