Drivers of all types of trucks are responsible for any accidents that happen through their own negligence. This responsibility means that a negligent driver is responsible for your medical bills, lost income, physical pain, emotional suffering, scarring or disfigurement, and damage to your vehicle. In addition to the driver, other responsible trucking companies may include – the truck owner, the shipping company, the broker who arranged the delivery, and other companies.
Operators of semis, tractor-trailers, hazmat vehicles, and other large trucks who engage in interstate commerce are normally required to have a commercial driver’s license. To obtain the license, drivers need to pass a skills test and a medical examination. Commercial truck drivers are also required to comply with the rules and regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Truck drivers must also comply with Tennessee’s truck regulations and the state traffic laws.
Truck drivers also have a responsibility to learn how to operate the specific type of truck they are driving. Drivers need to continually update their knowledge of how to drive the truck according to federal and state laws and the policies of the trucking company they work for.
Common examples of what truck driver responsibilities
Truck drivers must meet the following laws and regulations, company policies, and safe-driving practices:
- Comply with the hours-of-service requirements of the FCMSA. The FMCSA regulates how long drivers can be on the road, on a daily and a weekly basis, before they need to rest. Truck drivers shouldn’t speed to make up for lost time due to resting.
- Drivers need to conduct a routine inspection of their vehicles before each trip. Drivers also need to make sure their truck passes a state inspection each year.
- Drivers need to properly secure their cargo so it doesn’t shift or move while they are driving. There are rules on how much weight truck drivers can transport and rules on how the cargo should be secured.
- Commercial drivers, depending on FMCSA or state regulations, may be required to keep logs, including electronic logs, which record their travel routes and other travel criteria.
- Drivers need to report any accidents, any health issues, any traffic violations, and any complaints about their driving to their employer.
- Different state obligations. The traffic laws vary from state to state. Truck drivers need to know which trucking and which traffic laws apply for each state they drive in. For example, the weight limits and the speed limits may vary from state to state.
- Inclement weather. Drivers need to understand how to drive in rain, snow, ice, fog, sun, and other extreme weather conditions.
- Hazardous materials. Truck drivers who transport dangerous chemicals and other hazardous materials must comply with the relevant hazmat laws and regulations such as properly marking that their vehicle is transporting hazardous materials.
- Route requirements. Truck drivers also are responsible for understanding which routes their type of truck can and can’t travel on.
Truck drivers may also be required to help with loading and unloading the truck. Some truck drivers, such as drivers of tractor-trailers have the responsibility to drive to a loading dock where the items are unloaded. Smaller truck drivers, such as Fed Ex drivers, often drive to a variety of residential and business locations. The specific duties of each truck driver vary depending on the type of truck, the type of cargo, and the specific shipping contract.
Truck drivers also have the responsibly to avoid the following:
- Driving if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving if they are tired
- Driving if they are distracted
- Transporting unauthorized passengers
Trucks cause more fatal and more catastrophic injuries than cars. They’re harder to operate. The size and weight of trucks – especially big rigs and semis – mean the impact is greater. At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our truck accident lawyers fight aggressively to hold all responsible parties accountable, starting with the truck driver. It’s important to call an experienced Memphis truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after a truck crash. To schedule an appointment, call us at 901-475-7434 or fill out our contact form. We maintain an additional office in Jackson and serve all of West Tennessee.
As founder of Bailey & Greer, R. Sadler Bailey has battled his fair share of insurance giants and wrongdoers and has achieved numerous multimillion-dollar results for the victims of catastrophic injuries and their families. What’s more, he has been involved in more than 40 appellate court decisions affecting Tennessee personal injury law, including many landmark appearances before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Read more about R. Sadler Bailey