Truck drivers are held to a higher standard than other drivers on the road. They have a number of responsibilities other drivers don’t face and they’re subject to numerous safety regulations specifically written for the trucking industry.
So you might be wondering: What, exactly, are a trucker’s responsibilities on the road? Let’s review the rules they must follow in the state of California.
They Can’t Exceed the Maximum Driving Time
Truckers have limits on the number of hours they can drive in a single day. There are also maximums for the number of hours driven in a week or a certain time period.
Here in California, we have something called the 80-Hour 8-Day Rule. It means a driver can’t work more than 80 hours in an 8-day period. They must take at least 10 hours off between shifts and after the 8-day period, there must be a 34-hour off-duty rest period.
There’s also the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Hours of Service Regulation, which allows a maximum of 60/70 hours per 7/8 consecutive days and 10 to 11 hours after 8 to 10 consecutive hours off duty, depending on the load type. But this doesn’t apply in California.
Although many states adopt the FMCSA hours of service regulations by default, California has its own rules. The 80-Hour 8-Day Rule applies to all truckers who operate in our state in an effort to prevent drowsy driving, which contributes to thousands of catastrophic trucking crashes every year.
All Truckers Must Report Their Daily Status
Did you know truckers are responsible for reporting their duty status at least once during every 24-hour period? It’s a way of keeping tabs on truckers, getting unsafe truckers off the road, and making sure truckers can’t fly under the radar when it comes to their location and other driving details.
The daily status report should include things like the day’s date, their miles driven, their vehicle ID number, and other basic data about their status. According to the FMCSA, even the smallest increments of time should be recorded and made available to trucking authorities upon request.
Truckers Have Lower BAC Limits for Drunk Driving
Here’s something else the average person might not realize. Truckers can’t drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .04, which is half of the .08 level other drivers are allowed in California.
They’re also subject to a level of drug and alcohol testing the average person usually doesn’t face. In the 1990s, Congress passed mandated drug and alcohol testing for certain industries, including trucking, in the interest of public health and safety.
Under the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Rule 49 CFR Part 40, truckers must follow workplace rules for drug and alcohol tests. These include pre-employment tests, ongoing tests, accident-related tests, and other situations where the need for testing may arise under the DOT rules.
Every Drive Should Start and End With an Inspection
Finally, truckers are expected to inspect their vehicles before and after every drive they take. This confirms the vehicle is safe to operate and gives them an opportunity to observe and remedy any vehicle issue before the truck hits the road.
The trucker should do an inspection to ensure all of their equipment is in working order, like the truck’s brakes, steering mechanisms, lights, and tires. They should review what they’re seeing on the vehicle and compare it to prior reports.
All of this information should be logged and kept together in a logbook. If you’re injured by a trucker, you can request this logbook to see if they neglected something important that could have prevented your accident.
Injured? Let’s See if the Trucker Was Driving Responsibly!
After a trucker injures you in California, you have many routes to holding them responsible for what happened. You could show that they had too many hours on the road, failed to do daily status updates, drove under the influence of drugs, didn’t inspect their vehicle, and more.
With this kind of evidence, you may have a strong case for high-dollar compensation. Let’s start a free and confidential consultation to get to the bottom of what happened in your accident and hold the trucker responsible for their role in your crash.
We Handle Your Accident Claim so You Can Focus on Your Life
After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of personal injury claims, including truck accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.