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The Federal Regulations That Govern Truck Drivers

Car accidents are a leading cause of injury in the modern era. However, they are not nearly as dangerous as accidents involving a big truck. For this reason, there are a set of regulations in place across the entire US to encourage safe driving from truck drivers. These federal regulations are constantly being updated to account for changes in the trucking industry. In fact, they were updated as recently as 2019 and will probably continue to be adjusted for years to come. These are the big truck regulations that are in place to make the roads safer.

Areas of Regulation

The regulations typically correspond to the following areas:

  • Distracted driving
  • Mind-altering substances
  • Fatigued drivers
  • Accountability

The vast majority of car accidents are caused by drivers being distracted or making mistakes. This also applies to truckers, so the regulations are in place to tackle exactly the most common causes of accidents. In general, the regulations prohibit things that distract drivers, set certain hours so drivers will not be on the road while fatigued, and prevent drivers who fail to drive safely from staying on the road. Let’s dive into greater detail about the regulations that are in place.

Distracted Driving

Just like with regular cars, it is illegal to drive a big truck and send text messages at the same time. Any use of handheld phones is prohibited. The consequence of breaking this rule is suspension. After two violations, a trucker is not allowed to drive a truck for 60 days. After three violations, this suspension increases to 120 days. Violations must be within three years of each other.

Mind-Altering Substances

It is illegal to drive any vehicle while under the influence of any substance that alters the mind. The severe federal punishment for violating this law is all the punishment in place. However, trucking companies are required to do drug tests for the drivers randomly.

Fatigued Drivers

To avoid drivers from getting fatigued while on the road, they are not allowed to drive for more than 11 hours at a time. Breaks of at least 10 hours must be taken between driving sessions. Finally, drivers cannot drive more than 60 hours in a period of seven days, or 70 hours in eight days.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration performs an annual compliance check. If any drivers are found to be dangerous on the road, they are removed from the job. Every year, a large number of truckers are removed in this way.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it is in your best interest to consult with a truck accident lawyer about your legal options and next steps.

Thanks to Royce Injury for their insight into personal injury claims and federal regulations for trucks.

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