Trucking offenses cost money and lower safety ratings. Business and safety depend on avoiding them. Commercial truck driving involves many laws and regulations.
As a professional truck driver, it’s essential to stay updated on these regulations to avoid violations that can impact your safety rating and your business. Aggressive driving behaviors like tailgating, cutting off other drivers, or weaving in and out of traffic can lead to accidents and put you and other drivers at risk.
Always drive defensively and be aware of your surroundings. Before you look for trucking permits services, here are some tips.
Stay Updated on Regulations
Federal regulations governing the trucking industry are updated frequently. Staying up-to-date on these changes can help you avoid violations and remain compliant.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for regulating the trucking industry and provides updates on their website. You can also stay informed by attending industry conferences, reading trade publications, and networking with other truck drivers.
Ensure Proper Load Securement
Load securement violations are common and can cause accidents, leading to property damage or even fatalities. Proper load securement is crucial to ensure your cargo stays in place while driving.
Make sure you use the proper tie-downs, chains, and straps to secure your load before driving. Check your cargo regularly during the trip to ensure it hasn’t shifted, and make adjustments as necessary.
Follow Hours-of-Service Rules
The FMCSA has established hours-of-service rules to prevent driver fatigue and ensure drivers get the rest they need. Violating these rules can lead to costly fines and put your safety at risk.
The rules require drivers to take a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving, limit driving time to 11 hours per day, and require drivers to take a minimum of 10 hours off-duty between shifts. Keep a logbook or use an electronic logging device (ELD) to track your hours accurately.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Routine maintenance and inspections can help prevent equipment violations and keep your vehicle in top condition. Check your tires, brakes, lights, and other critical components regularly. Conduct pre-trip inspections to ensure your vehicle is in good working order before hitting the road. Make repairs promptly to avoid more significant issues down the line.
Avoid Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a significant cause of accidents and a common violation for truck drivers. Stay focused on the road and avoid using your phone or other distractions while driving. Pull over to a safe location if you need to make a call or send a text message. Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind on driving.
Check Your Paperwork
Commercial truck drivers need to carry various paperwork, including their commercial driver’s license, registration, and insurance. Ensure your permits and paperwork are up-to-date and keep them organized and easily accessible. Failing to carry the correct paperwork can result in violations and fines.
Truck drivers frequently speed. Drive safely within speed limits. Speeding can cause serious mishaps when driving an industrial lorry. Plan your path and allow enough time to get there without rushing.
Use Turn Signals and Maintain Lane Discipline
Using turn signals and maintaining lane discipline are critical components of safe driving for truckers. Failure to do so can result in costly violations or even accidents.
When changing lanes or making turns, it’s important to signal your intentions in advance. Sudden lane changes or turns can startle other drivers and lead to collisions. Always signal your turns well before making them to give other drivers enough time to react.
Maintaining lane discipline is also important for safety. Stay in your lane and avoid weaving in and out of traffic. If you need to pass another vehicle, make sure you have enough space and signal your intentions in advance.
Additionally, keeping a safe following distance is crucial. Tailgating is not only illegal but also dangerous. Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you to allow for sudden stops or changes in traffic patterns.
By using turn signals, maintaining lane discipline, keeping a safe following distance, and avoiding aggressive driving behaviors, you can reduce your risk of accidents and violations and keep yourself and others safe on the road.
In conclusion, avoiding common trucking violations requires careful attention to detail and a commitment to safety. By doing so, you can keep yourself and others safe on the road and avoid costly violations that can impact your business.
Stay updated on regulations, ensure proper load securement, follow hours-of-service rules, maintain your vehicle, avoid distracted driving, check your paperwork, avoid speeding, and use turn signals and maintain lane discipline.
Safe trailing distance is essential. Illegal and risky tailgating. Allow room between you and the car ahead for an abrupt halt or traffic pattern shifts.