Texas has one of the highest number of semi-truck accidents in the country, according to reports analyzing truck accidents in the United States. Like other states in the nation’s heartland, Texas’s highways are dominated by tractor-trailers. These trucks serve an important purpose, and our economy would suffer without them, but there is no getting around the dangers they pose.
In an effort to make tractor-trailers safer, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict rules on the trucking industry and truck operators.
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- Truckers Can’t Text and Drive
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) bans truckers and all commercial drivers from texting behind the wheel. Under the FMCSA’s no-texting rule, truck drivers are prohibited from reading a text, sending an email, instant messaging, pushing buttons to enter a text, using voice commands to open a web page, or touching more than one button to send or receive a phone call.
Truck drivers caught texting and driving can be charged up to $2,750 for each offense. Truck companies face fines up to $11,000 per incident.
- Truckers Can’t Transport Unauthorized Passengers
Many truck operators – especially long-haul drivers – spend days away from their loved ones. Although it might be tempting to take a spouse or child along for the ride, this is prohibited under FMCSA regulations. Carrying unauthorized passengers is a safety hazard that can lead to a serious accident. Some truckers have family members who serve as co-drivers, however, these drivers must have written authorization from the trucking company before they can accompany a driver.
- Truckers Can’t Talk on a Mobile Phone
About half the states in the U.S. still permit motorists to use a handheld device while driving. For truckers, however, there is a federal ban on handheld cell phones and smartphones. Regardless of what the state law says regarding handheld phone use, the federal law supersedes in this case. Whether a truck driver is passing through Maine, Texas, California, or Arkansas, handheld mobile phones are a no-no behind the wheel.
- Truckers Can’t Use Radar Detectors
The FMCSA has banned radar detectors in tractor-trailers since 1993. Any truck weighing more than 18,000 pounds is prohibited from having a radar detector inside. Because studies have shown that drivers who use radar detectors engage in excessive speed compared to drivers without radar detectors, the FMCSA instituted a blanket ban on the devices.
Regulations go a long way toward deterring negligent behavior, but no law will ever completely stop people from breaking the rules, no matter how harsh the consequences. Most truck drivers are incredibly hard-working individuals who have dedicated their lives to their profession. The majority of truck operators follow the rules and drive safely. Unfortunately, it only takes one negligent truck driver to cause a catastrophic accident.
See our related posts:
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Tips Truck Drivers Should Use to Safely Share the Road with Passenger Vehicles