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October 03, 2020

Become a Truck Driver

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Personal Injury Lawyer

Driving a large motor vehicle requires a high level of responsibility. These trucks can weigh between 26,000 to 33,000 pounds, with semi-trucks carrying over 800,000 pounds across their 18 wheels. Because of their sheer weight and length, these vehicles have larger blind spots than passenger vehicles, making them much more challenging to drive. Since driving these trucks come with added obstacles, prospective truck drivers require additional certification outside of a standard driver license.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires truck drivers to obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). This license legally permits drivers to operate large motor vehicles and transport cargo. Unlike a state driver license, CDLs require consistent training and physical exams every two years. To initially obtain the license, drivers must undergo vehicle-specific training that varies based on the truck they hope to drive. They can then get additional certifications of they want to drive a truck with double trailer, drive a tank, carry hazardous materials or drive passengers. No matter their certification, every driver holding a CDL must also partake in annual training sessions that can occur in the classroom and behind the wheel. Because of the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, a clean driving record is also imperative. If a driver cannot maintain their record, they are in danger of losing their CDL. This suspension can occur due to accidents, as well as traffic violations.

Once a truck driver has obtained their CDL, strict guidelines still apply. The FMCSA has detailed multiple rules that protect their drivers while on the job. Most importantly, truck drivers must follow meticulous hours and log their driving and break hours. These logs are recorded and can be checked at any time by government officials. For example, delivery drivers:

  • Can only work 14 hours each day and can only drive 11 hours each day
  • Must take a 30-minute break after driving 8 hours 
  • Cannot drive more than 60 to 70 hours after working 7 to 8 days in a row

Unfortunately, even with the strictest guidelines in place, accidents can happen. These can occur whether or not the driver is adhering to all FMCSA rules. Ultimately, all drivers are responsible for their decisions, whether it be driving past their allocated hours to meet a deadline or changing lanes before effectively checking all blind spots.

If you or a loved one were the victims of a motor vehicle accident with a negligent truck driver, you could be eligible for legal compensation. 

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