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08/16/06   |   By

Trucking Safety: Big Rig Regulations | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

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Have you ever wondered how long the truck driver speeding up behind you at 75 m.p.h. has been on the road? Most trucking companies pay by the mile, so the driver will make more money if he drives further and faster. However, relatively recent federal regulations have been put in place to make the roads safer for everyone by limiting the number of consecutive hours a truck driver can be on the road.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, which regulates truck drivers, mandates that a driver can drive straight for 11 hours or work up to a 14 hour shift (which includes rest stops and breaks for food). Additionally, no driver may work more than 60 hours in a 7 day period or 70 hours in an 8 day period, unless they have had 34 straight hours off in that time.

Here are a few tips to help keep you safe around 18-wheelers:

  • Don’t ride in the trucker’s blind spot! If you spend a long time in the right or rear blind spot, a trucker might forget where you are and start to merge into you. When behind a trucker, remember that if you can’t see his mirrors, he probably can’t see you.
  • Don’t cut truckers off either. Those heavy trucks take much longer to slow to a stop than your car does, so if you don’t allow the driver enough space he may end up rear-ending you.
  • Don’t pass a truck on the right when he might be turning. Believe it or not, this maneuver, sometimes a called a “right turn squeeze,” is the second leading cause of truck accidents, according to John Deere Transportation Insurance.
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