Commercial semi-truck drivers are subject to a number of specific laws and regulations. Because semi-truck drivers must drive huge trucks that can cause serious accidents, some states enact extra laws for drivers to follow. In Texas there are several laws placed on commercial drivers in order to keep roads and highways safer. Not following these laws can lead to loss of their commercial license.
- Semi-truck drivers must pass a drug test before they are hired. They are also randomly drug tested as preventative measure.
- Semi-truck drivers must be 21-years-old to operate the truck or receive a commercial license.
- They must load cargo safely and in a way that it will not cause harm to other drivers on the road or fall out onto the road.
- They must run periodic inspections on their vehicles so they don’t malfunction and cause an accident.
- Semi-truck drivers are not allowed to drive when they are sick because it may delay their reactions or impair judgment.
- They must drive appropriately and with caution in hazardous conditions.
- They must follow specific safety rules when driving near or across railroad tracks.
- They may not use a cellphone or any handheld device while operating a semi-truck.
- They cannot drive while they are tired or fatigued as this could be just as bad as driving under the influence.
- Semi-truck drivers must follow all other traffic laws issued by the state and federal government.
Federal Laws for Semi-Truck Drivers
Federal laws limit the amount of time a semi-truck driver can stay behind the wheel.
- No driver can drive longer than 11 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- No driver can drive for any period after the end of the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- No semi-truck driver can continue driving after having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days.
- A semi-truck driver cannot drive without taking 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty after the 7 or 8 days of consecutive driving described above.
- If the semi truck contains passengers, the driver cannot drive more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty or for any period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.
Laws and regulations for commercial drivers, and more specifically semi-truck drivers, are very complex. It is important to be aware of the laws set by each state as semi-truck drivers tend to cross state borders often.