Truck Driving Regulations You Need To Be Aware Of

Every driver should adhere to traffic rules and regulations all the time. Failure to do so will mean getting a ticket or a heavier penalty.

Truck drivers, on the other hand, have to follow certain regulations. This is because they’re driving a big vehicle which poses more danger to motorists.

These traffic laws are taught at truck driving schools that offer CDL training. The training course is a basic requirement for people wishing to become professional truck drivers. Completion of the course earns you a certificate that qualifies you to apply for truck driving positions offered by companies engaged in the transport of goods.

In the U.S., the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues all the traffic rules concerning safety of interstate commercial driving. This agency is under the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) which covers industries that involve all kinds of transportation from airlines, shipping, trucking to railroads. Another department that handles other road matters is the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

When it comes to trucks, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversee the road safety of these large vehicles. The NHTSA is responsible for setting standards for new truck equipment and may also cover equipment standard for trucks traveling on highways.

The FMCSA, on the other hand, covers commercial vehicles that travel from one state to another. It handles issues pertaining to equipment, licensing, vehicle inspection and maintenance as well as hours of service.

People aged at least 18 years old are allowed to drive trucks but only within their specific state. Those allowed to drive large vehicles across various states should be at least 21 years old or older.

Hours of service. The FMCSA strictly enforces the rules for hours of service or work hour limits. Under this rule, commercial truck drivers traveling interstate are allowed only to drive 11 hours after which they need to have a 10-hour break. Drivers are also limited to 60 work hours in one week or 70 hours in eight consecutive days.

Long haul truckers are required to bring a logbook wherein they can record their work hours while drivers traveling short distances do not need to bring this.

Alcohol drinking. Although this is not much of a problem for those handling huge vehicles, drinking alcohol is a big no for truck drivers. There are stiff penalties when you are caught to be under the influence of alcohol while driving and could face a lawsuit in the event you get involved in an accident due to alcohol drinking.

Government regulations require carriers to conduct an alcohol and drug test on specific occasions. All carriers are required to conduct a drug contest to commercial drivers applying for their company before hiring them, after crashes take place and on random basis. Alcohol tests, meanwhile, are required after crashes occur and also on random basis.

Radar detectors. This device has long been banned in commercial vehicles that travel across states. The radar detector was found not be very useful as it was only meant to avoid the enforcement of a speed limit.

Accredited Truck Driving Schools

Do you need truck driving school to be a truck driver? YES!

It takes skill and training to become a safe and effective commercial truck driver. In order to work for trucking companies throughout the United States you will need your CDL (commercial drivers license) and complete trucking company requirements.

So where do you start? The fastest way to become a commercial truck driver is to attend an accredited truck driving school. Professional truck drivers will teach you how to drive the big rigs, buses, tractor trailers and more.

Average Truck Driving School Cost – the cost to attend truck driving schools varies widely by state. The range of accredited truck driving school ranges anywhere from $1500 to $20,000, however, the average is around $4500.

You may qualify for financial aid via student loans to help pay for trucking school. If you are a pre-approved truck driving student, some schools offer to reimburse your tuition 100% if you meet hiring qualifications.

Trucking School on your schedule – most schools offer truck driving courses during the day, evenings and weekends. You can earn your CDL in as little as 4 weeks or graduate as a professional truck driver in approximately 6 months.

Here are the base truck driving school programs currently available from accredited schools:

Professional Truck Driver Program

Approximately 730 Clock Hours, Length of Class 6 months (2 months on-site driver training and 2 months on-the-job training).

CDL Training Program –

Approximately 160 Clock Hours and classes last for 4 weeks

CDL Driver Training Program

Approximately 80 Clock Hours, 2-weeks of day classes and 4 weeks if you choose night classes.

Here are the basics for truck driving school applicants – be sure to review and make sure you qualify before you apply:

  • Must have high school diploma, GED or pass approved ability-to-benefit test.
  • Must be 18 years old by the time trucking program is completed for intrastate license.
  • Must be 21 years old by the time trucking program completed for all interstate licenses.
  • Must be licensed to drive in state you receive your training in order to receive your state’s CDL.
  • Must meet Department of Transportation physical requirements for drivers commercial qualifications.
  • Must pass a drug test.
  • Must be able to speak and read English well enough to converse with the general public, understand road signs and signals, make reports and record entries to truck journals etc.
  • Must have 1 year standard drivers license experience from your state or country.
  • All qualifications need to be met for the FMCSR or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
  • Must have a valid U.S.A. Social Security Card

Professionally trained commercial truck drivers are always in demand. Top truck driver schools will often offer life-time job placement to their graduates!

Commercial Truck Financing – Bad Credit

If you are a trucking business owner you’ll want to save as much as possible and extend the life of your most important business investment, your truck. When you look at today’s current advertisements you will come across a lot of bait and switch advertisers. Well-known services like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds report the true values of new and used cars and trucks. Driving a commercial truck is one of the most lucrative careers in today’s market.

If you compare how much money a former college student will make a few years out of college and how much a truck driver makes after only a few weaks out of school, you will see just how much money you can actually make. Trucking is not just a career, it is a lifestyle. You can become very succesfull driving a truck if you follow all the rules of the trucking indutry. If you want to earn a living driving, than leasing is a great option. Your vehicle is essentially your most important tool for your business. 

Many of the steps to buy a used commercial truck are the same for selling any other vehicle. Consider leasing a used vehicle instead of a new one. Rising fuel prices and the poor economy in the last few years, resulted in a glut in sales, which for you, means very good prices for buying used trucks. On the other hand, if you buy new, the depreciation will be higher due to the soft used truck market.

Commercial truck driving is certainly a booming career and for everyone out there who is thinking about getting on the road, there is good news for you. Even in this economy you can make a killing driving. You also get to know all the rules and regulations that exist in the trucking world. You can even get truck-driving lessons at colleges and universities as a vocational training subject. Obtaining a handsomely paying job, that too, in trucking industry, isn’t all that difficult. Becoming a professional driver can most certainly be a promising career change for you. For those looking for a new career opportunity, there could not be a better time to start a rewarding job in the truck driving industry.

Commercial Truck Electronic Logs

As the commercial truck driving industry advances in technology, many drivers have mixed emotions regarding the use of an electronic log rather than a paper log. Driver preferences vary between both options. Many of the more experienced drivers prefer paper logs. Having used them for quite some time the conversion to these new logs can be a challenge to say the least.

It is inevitable that the trucking industry to be fully converted to the electronic logs in the near future. There are many advantages and disadvantages to using these logs. With the use of the electronic log it is imperative that all trips are preplanned in advance. Failing to do so can result in a significant loss of income to truck drivers and trucking companies themselves.

Although, the conversion to electronic logs has been quite the task for some commercial truck drivers, many drivers that have recently changed over now prefer the use of the electronic log. When used correctly the drivers are given an opportunity to make a significantly better income due to proper planning. When all trips are planned out appropriately the drivers have more opportunity for additional income.

Though the industry seems to be converting rapidly from paper logs, there are some issues that need to be considered prior to the exclusively using the new system. The new systems have been known to crash and are unusable for extended period of time. When this happens the drivers are left with no option other than paper logs. These issues are expected to be resolved as technology advances and paper logs will most likely be known as a thing of the past in the near future.