One of the more tedious, and often difficult, areas of truck driving is that which relates to trucking laws. As a truck driver, you cannot use lack of knowledge as a defense – lawyers often take pleasure in the quote “ignorance can never be used a defense.” Truck drivers then need to keep themselves updated on all new laws whilst also operating under existing laws. Your knowledge of these laws should start with your complete CDL training program.
It can become complicated. There are laws that cover hazardous materials, and who can drive trucks carrying these products. There are laws covering household goods that are being trucked from one location to another. As a driver, you need to be aware of what goods you are transporting, and what laws relate to those goods. At the same time, you need to manage a log book, your driving hours, and follow the road rules. Just to complicate issues, the company that employs you may have their own requirements such as maintaining a vehicle log, and the paperwork associated with the goods you are transporting.
Fortunately for truck drivers, trucking laws don’t change very often, and when they do, they are well publicized. A good example is the recent changes to driving hours and the restrictions now being applied to the use of mobile devices whilst driving. Well respected trucking companies also act as a second level of support, notifying drivers when trucking laws are changed. They also notify truck drivers if particular trucking laws relate to the load they are carrying, or their destination.
Trucking laws are very different to standard motor vehicle laws. Trucks drivers have restrictions that don’t apply to most standard motor vehicles, and the onus is on the drivers to stay up-to-date and to follow those rules. Whilst an employer may overload a truck, it’s the truck driver’s responsibility should they be caught with an overloaded vehicle. Know your trucking laws well and you’ll stay out of trouble.