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Do different rules of the road apply to truck drivers?

All Knoxville residents must follow the rules of the road when they are driving. For most, this means obeying the posted speed limit, stopping and yielding where required and not texting while driving, among other requirements. Some individuals are required to follow more rules, however, depending on the vehicle they are operating.

Drivers of semi-trucks have a number of rules and regulations that apply because of the increased size of the vehicle they operate. For example, there are licensing requirements drivers must follow, as well as rules on how big a truck may be in order to operate on given roads.

Once on the road, truck drivers have even more regulations that govern their driving. For instance, drivers must keep a trucking log book that tracks their status over the road. Drivers are prohibited from operating after they have worked 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days, or from operating after working 70 hours in 8 consecutive days. There are exceptions to these requirements, however, that may apply under certain circumstances.

A number of other safety requirements also apply. A driver must be in good health, for example, before he or she can operate certain vehicles.

There can be many repercussions if drivers fail to follow the rules and regulations. In addition to the penalties that might apply to their license, drivers could also subject themselves to liability in a personal injury lawsuit. When others are injured because of a truck driver's negligence, the trucking regulations may play a part in establishing that negligence or showing how the trucker failed to follow the rules he or she was required to follow. This can be particularly true if the driver was exceeding the permissible hours one can drive on the road, or if another safety rule was violated that played a part in the accident that injured the other person. Accordingly, injured persons should be aware of the additional regulations that apply to truckers, and how those rules and regulations might come into play in a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, "Guide to trucking laws and regulations in Tennessee," accessed on Nov. 22, 2014

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