Semi-trucks (or 18-wheelers) are so much bigger than the average passenger vehicle that they have separate traffic laws that apply to them. They also have unique maintenance requirements because of how many miles they travel.
Those who want to drive semi-trucks or other commercial vehicles need to obtain a commercial driver’s license. They will need to carry special insurance if they own their own vehicle, or the company that employs them may need to carry a six- or seven-figure policy on the vehicle they drive.
Additionally, commercial drivers have to abide by special federal traffic laws that do not apply to those in passenger vehicles. These are three of the specialized traffic laws that help to protect members of the public from the risk of a commercial crash.
A lower blood alcohol limit
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of a driver can help police officers establish whether they may have difficulty driving and also whether they have violated state law. Although the BAC limit for most motorists over the age of 21 is 0.08%, the limit for those driving commercial vehicles is 0.04%. They can face arrest for a technical drunk driving infraction with a BAC half that of the average drunk driver.
A no-texting rule
Although most states have now implemented policies about texting while driving that apply to teenage drivers and often adults as well, there is no federal traffic statute about distracted driving for those in standard passenger vehicles. However, there is a federal no-text rule that prohibits the manual use of a mobile device while in control of a commercial vehicle anywhere in the country.
The Hours-of-Service rules
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a special set of rules limiting how long a commercial driver can operate an 18-wheeler. There are daily driving limits, as well as weekly limits that apply to seven-day or eight-day periods. These rules are slightly different depending on whether someone hauls people or material goods.
Drivers who violate these rules or companies with policies that force their drivers to break these rules could be held liable if a crash is caused by such violations. Holding a commercial driver or their employer responsible with the assistance of a legal professional is often be necessary for those who are struggling with the catastrophic consequences of a commercial vehicle crash.