Driving a big truck is not at all the same as driving a regular passenger vehicle. Trucks are way larger and a lot heavier, which makes maneuvering them a task that only professionals can do. Big truck accidents are not as common as regular vehicles accidents. In fact, according to statistics, you are three times less likely to get involved in a truck accident than you would with a regular car. Additionally, truck drivers are more cautious when driving because they know that they are driving at least 80 tons worth of moving steel. Any accident involving such large vehicles can result in devastating injuries or even death.
Because of the fact that big trucks are very difficult to maneuver, there are certain requirements that the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) had imposed on all truck drivers, before they are issued a CDL or Commercial Driver’s License. One of these requirements is the written and practical driving test. You are also going to be required to submit yourself to drug and alcohol testing in case you were previously involved in an accident, especially if you have a DUI case on record. It is also required that 18 wheeler truck driver be of the age 21, for cross country travel and minimum is 18 for local travel. Drivers are also required to keep a log book where they could record the hours and miles they drive per day. Although the laws regarding the allowable working for truck drivers vary from one state to another, but in general, truck drivers are only allowed to drive no more than 11 hours per days followed by a ten hour break no matter how short the destination is from the time you reached your 11 hour driving limit. In total, truck drivers are only allowed to drive a maximum of 70 hours within a span of 8 days.
Big Truck Requirements
For big truck owners, FMCSA requires all trucks to pass all yearly safety inspections. The trucking company is required to keep all of the documentation of these inspections. They are also required to place all the stickers given by the department on their trailers or trucks. They are also required to display the name of the company, their business location and most importantly, the DOT identification number. The driver and the company are both responsible for checking their trucks before and after it leaves their premises. Any problems with the truck or any accident that might happen because of defective parts is the driver’s and the company owner’s liability, unless they can prove that the manufacturer of the defective parts is the one liable for the accident.
Trucking Company Requirements
The trucking company on the other hand is responsible for everything. You are required to have all of the trucking permit and documents that complies with the FMCSA’s policies including having appropriate insurances and the security bond requirements. It is also important to mount a warning placard on rig trucks when transporting hazardous materials. The drivers, whether or not directly employed by the trucking company are under the liability of the company whose name appears on the placard. So even if you hire a subcontractor to transport drive your truck, you are still liable for any accident wherein your truck is involved. This also goes for companies that hire a contractor for the freight transportation, in case of an accident, they too are liable to the damages of the accident.