News & Updates from Hodge & Langley

What Are Commercial Trucks?

Written by T. Ryan Langley on February 12th 2016.

Every day on the road, we’re surrounded by a variety of vehicles. If you’re in a motor vehicle accident, knowing the type of vehicles involved can greatly affect your rights, your compensation, and how any related lawsuit may be handled.

Commercial trucks are large vehicles used for business, often to transport commercial goods. Depending on where you are from, these vehicles can have a variety of names. The large trucks that pull compartments behind them are known as 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, semis, or big rigs. Dump trucks, delivery vehicles, moving vans, car carriers and other freight transporters are also forms of commercial trucks.

Drivers of commercial trucks have different requirements than regular car owners. First, commercial truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) if they: drive a vehicle that weighs more than 26,000 pounds; transport themselves and 15 or more passengers; or transport hazardous materials. To get a CDL, drivers must prove their skills in driving a specific type of truck by taking a test in that truck.

Additionally, there are restrictions on the drivers’ time on duty in the truck. Commercial truck drivers are not allowed to drive more than 10 hours following 8 straight hours off duty. Additionally, they are not allowed to drive at all if they’ve been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty. In other words, the law regulates how much time they have to rest (or at least, not drive) and how long they can be driving in a given day (with some exceptions, listed in detail here).

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations exist to provide further rules and laws for commercial truck drivers. The rules, paired with their business’s regulations, work to ensure that commercial truck drivers are adequately trained, follow safety precautions, load their trucks properly, and use safe equipment. Thus, a driver who doesn’t follow these rules is not only a danger on the road, but stands in violation of federal laws.

Read our article on Why Truck Accidents are Different to understand more about car accidents involving commercial trucks, and what you should do if you’re part of one.

For more information about commercial trucks, visit our Commercial Truck FAQ.

To schedule a consultation with one of Hodge & Langley’s attorneys experienced in motor vehicle and commercial truck accidents, complete this contact form or call 864.585.3873. 

Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents