The use of trucks for the transport of goods and services has proven to be key for economic stability, both in Sugar Land and through the country. By easing the movement of goods from the manufacturer to the consumer, these trucks have not only created jobs for drivers, but it has also paved the way for the development of other industries and an increase in our standard of living. However, even as we highlight the advantages of having these long trucks on our highways, we must also acknowledge the detrimental effects it has placed on society, especially due to the rising number of road accidents involving trucks. Many victims are left with permanent injuries that lock them out of their daily activities.

Unfortunately, a majority of these accidents are not purely accidental and unavoidable, but occur as a result of negligence and carelessness of particular truckers. Such behaviors can be reduced by putting into place legal requirements that seek to drastically lower the number of careless mistakes that would put the lives of other road users at risk.  Multiple states have formulated special laws and regulations that govern the decisions of the trucking sector. By doing so, truck drivers and operators must follow certain rules on how they conduct themselves while on the roads, which a skilled truck accident lawyer can explain.

While there are quite a number of state and local regulations that govern road transportation, there are national rules that all companies must follow. These federal rules include:

Insurance Requirements

Having a valid insurance coverage is required by law for all trucking companies. This means that for the trucking company to operate legally, it must ensure that every truck is insured. Small cars, especially those used for personal activities, may require less insurance coverage compared to larger vehicles. In similar manner, all large commercial trucks must adhere to the minimum insurance requirements for road safety and safe driving practices. This is because large trucks have a much greater likelihood of causing more damage, so the companies must be capable of paying for the damage through their insurance.

A truck that weighs at least 10,000 lbs. is expected to have a minimum insurance coverage of $750,000, but many trucking companies insure their trucks for at least $1,000,000. This is the case if the truck transports non-hazardous materials such as dry goods or furniture. But for those that ferry hazardous goods like petrol, their coverage must be higher given the likelihood of having a catastrophic accident. In this case, the regulation says their minimum insurance coverage will increase by the potential danger of the substance they are hauling.

Maintenance Requirements

All cars using public roads are expected to adhere to strict guidelines when it comes to their maintenance. For small vehicles, maintenance is less burdensome compared to bigger commercial trucks and buses. The major contributing factor for this necessity is that these trucks often cover a significant distance moving from one state to another, and this regular breaking, skidding, and wear and tear of important system devices could be disastrous if left unchecked. These trucks must also be inspected by independent bodies every 90 days to confirm their road worthiness.

Drug & Alcohol Testing

Drug and substance abuse is prohibited not only to truck operators, but also to everyone else who uses public roads. To mitigate this, stringent laws have been formulated to curb drunk driving with truck drivers, since many may be tempted to abuse drugs in order to keep them alert and awake throughout their journey. Sadly, the use of these drugs can have detrimental effects on their health and judgment, and could lead to a higher likelihood of a truck accident. The Omnibus Employee Testing Act seeks to have all employers subject their drivers to a vigorous alcohol and drug abuse test.

Hours of Service

Truck drivers are known for their long hours of service. They are expected to deliver their cargo safely and timely based on their employer’s schedule. While delivering goods on time is commendable, driving for long hours without breaks can have negative effects on one’s judgment as well. The driver may become tired and overworked, therefore affecting their vision and ability to make quick judgments when need be. Because of federal and state regulations, truck drivers are required to take breaks every so often and can only drive so many hours per day. This helps ensure that the drivers who can cause the most amount of damage are rested and refreshed when on the road.

With these special laws and regulations in place, Sugar Land residents can feel more comfortable with the most dangerous trucks on the road.