Published On: Wed, Jul 19th, 2023

The Type of Regulations Truck Drivers Face

$497 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Virginia annually, and truckers carry 78 percent of these goods. In 2008, approximately 3.4 million trucks journeyed on I-81. The interstate highway should be getting ready to handle over seven million trucks by 2035. 

These statistics have shown the usefulness of truck drivers to the United States economy; they transport goods worth billions of dollars annually. 

Similarly, truckers have a massive obligation to society. Large truck crashes are usually disastrous, and passenger vehicles are often the victims because they cannot withstand tractor-trailers in a collision. 

Virginia recorded over 2,500 large truck crashes in 2020. In 2019, more than 100 trucks were involved in deadly accidents in the state. 

Federal law demands heightened qualifications for truckers to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) before they can legally drive a commercial truck because of the immense obligation on them. 

Federal Trucking Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations say that trucking firms must have qualification files for their truckers. These rules are also binding on independent drivers who own commercial vehicles. The essence of the Agency’s comprehensive requirements checklists is to deter unsafe motorists from using our roads. 

According to the FMCSA regulations, employers must maintain the following documents in a trucker’s qualification file after recruitment: 

  • The driver’s signed application for employment
  • A background check into the driver’s employment history—usually for the past three years
  • A request to the state DMV for the trucker’s previous three-year driving history
  • A demand for the driver’s safety performance history
  • A Road Test Certificate to ascertain the employee’s ability to drive a truck safely 
  • Findings about the driver’s previous three years of drug and alcohol screening or refusals

The requirements for the employer do not stop immediately after hiring a commercial driver. During the employment process, the recruiter must continuously update their employee’s qualification file in the following issues:

  • Demand an updated copy of the trucker’s driving record from the state DMV yearly 
  • File confirmation that you have reviewed the updated driving record
  • Get a medical examiner’s certificate that the employee has finished a physical examination once every two years
  • Report all convicted breaches of motor vehicle traffic laws every year

Virginia Commercial Driver Disqualification Rules

Virginia also regulates commercial motorists. Commercial drivers convicted of major motor infractions will face enormous consequences from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV will suspend the offender’s commercial license if they drive while under the influence (with a minimum blood alcohol concentration of 0.04), which is lower than the limit for a private car. 

Drivers who decline a blood or breath test, do not stop at an accident scene that causes harm or fatality, lie on their CDL license applications, or commit a felony with their commercial truck will face a year’s suspension. The Department will add two years to the driver’s disqualification if the violations occur while transporting hazardous materials. However, a driver caught transporting illegal drugs in a commercial truck may face a lifetime suspension. 

The Commonwealth of Virginia also considers the following violations seriously: following too closely; reckless driving; driving 15 miles per hour or more over the speed limit; inappropriate lane change; operating a commercial vehicle without a CDL; using phone while driving; and a traffic ticket after a deadly accident. 

A driver will face a two-month suspension if they commit two severe breaches in three years. The disqualification will extend to 120 days if they commit three or more. The essence of these regulations is to encourage truckers to follow traffic laws and drive safely. 

The Consequences of a Trucking Accident

These regulations have heightened individuals’ confidence in commercial truckers nationwide. However, the regulations do not stop the numerous trucking mishaps happening in Virginia. 

Hire a Lawyer

Contact a reputable and experienced personal injury lawyer if you get injured in a tractor-trailer or truck crash. A lawyer understands the rules and will investigate the person or entity to hold liable,” says Attorney Russell J. Berkowitz of Berkowitz Hanna Malpractice & Injury Lawyers.

Author: Anu T

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