Different rules apply to different types of drivers

Every driver has an obligation to be safe and comply with the laws behind the wheel. However, these laws vary between states and among drivers. For instance, truck drivers must comply with different rules regarding licensing, impairment and distraction.

Whether you are a regular motorist or a commercial driver, knowing these differences can be crucial, especially if you have recently been in a trucking accident.

How do the rules vary for commercial drivers?

Driving a commercial vehicle requires a person to obtain a commercial driver's license, or CDL. Commercial drivers may also require a medical certificate confirming their mental and physical fitness to operate a commercial vehicle. Depending on their cargo, drivers may also need to secure endorsements, or special permissions.

Unlike regular motorists, commercial drivers must track their hours in logbook and comply with Hours of Service regulations. Federal regulations also prohibit all interstate commercial drivers from using a cellphone while driving, and the limit for intoxicated driving is lower for commercial drivers. These stricter rules reflect the increased difficulty of operating a commercial vehicle and the increased damage that can be done when one is involved in a crash.

Why does this matter after a crash?

While a person need not break the law to be responsible for an accident, it is often the case that a legal violation caused or contributed to a crash. Identifying the legal violation can make it easier to assign blame, especially if a trucker was in violation of a federal regulation.

That being said, motorists and truckers would be wise to consult an attorney after an accident and seek an in-depth investigation into the details of the accident, as there may be numerous factors that played a role. The stakes of these claims can be quite high, and finding accurate answers to the question of cause and liability will be critical. 

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