Why Are Trucking Laws So Strict in the United States?

October 27, 2020 Published by Leave your thoughts

Driving a semi-truck is not an easy job, especially when you have to maneuver around tricky roads, routes and highways. As much as you might enjoy a good road trip, professional truck drivers are held to much higher standards than the average person on the road. It makes sense, of course—trucks and trailers are bigger and heavier, which makes them significantly more dangerous in a collision. That’s why trucking laws are so strict in Flagstaff, AZ and the United States as a whole.

If you’ve ever been stuck behind a semi going 55 on a two-lane road, you know the frustration—but keep in mind that the driver is legally required to follow more rules than average drivers. Here are some of the trucking laws that a driver must comply with for their job:

  • Strict time limits: One of the most important regulations drivers must follow is that they have a strict 11-hour limit to their driving time during any 14-hour period. Even if the driver is behind schedule, they must stop and rest before continuing. This is to ensure drivers are alert and aware enough to drive heavy equipment.
  • Seven-second gaps: Thinking about cutting in front of a semi when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the highway? Don’t—the driver is trying to leave a seven-second gap between them and the vehicle in front of them. That’s because trucks take much longer to come to a complete stop. If you cut in front of them, you might save a few seconds but also put your own life at risk in the process.
  • Changing lanes requires extra caution: Most states require drivers to stay in the rightmost lane (or lanes) at all times, unless passing. That’s because changing lanes at high speeds can be dangerous—there are blind spots as well as reckless (or ignorant) car drivers to avoid.
  • Special fitness requirements: Drivers must pass a physical exam to show they are not only capable of driving for long hours, but also that they’re able to climb around, on top and underneath the truck to perform inspections.
  • Strict distracted driving rules: If you think a ticket for chatting on your cell phone is annoying, at least it doesn’t come with the risk of losing your job. Truck drivers have much stricter distracted driving rules, whether federal, state or mandated by their company.
  • Moving over for emergency vehicles: Sometimes it’s not possible for semis to pull over to the side of the road when an emergency vehicle needs to get by. Watch for truck drivers slowing for emergency vehicles or when someone is stranded on the side of the road.
  • Headlights and windshield wipers: Most states require semi drivers to turn on their headlights anytime they use their windshield wipers, to promote visibility in inclement weather.

Next time you’re behind a semi-truck, remember that they’re following strict trucking laws in Flagstaff, AZ and beyond.

Maclin Truck & Trailer’s goal is to make the road safer for all drivers. Call today for commercial truck and trailer roadside assistance.

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