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What rules of the road apply to truck drivers?

Many Knoxville residents agree that everyone must play by the rules. And yet, certain individuals are held to higher standards than others because of their position or experience.

When it comes to the rules of the road, for example, not every motorist is held to the same standards. Some, such as semi-truck drivers, are held to different standards then regular motorists, because of their training and experience in driving a larger vehicle.

These standards are not just theoretical; they are set forth under federal law. The federal trucking regulations cover a wide variety of issues, including standards governing the safety of the truck itself. For instance, the braking systems of the semi-truck must meet certain safety standards, and truck drivers are required to inspect these systems on a regular basis.

The federal regulations also control the truck driver's conduct. For example, the truck driver can only drive a certain amount of hours in a given period, with the remaining time being reserved for rest.

If the truck driver violates these safety regulations, it can lead to serious consequences, including a semi-truck crash that can seriously injure or kill other motorists on the road. Last week this blog discussed a fatal accident in which a truck driver was alleged to have failed to comply with the federal trucking regulations. The accident, like many others, is now the subject of a lawsuit based on the truck driver's negligence.

When individuals are injured after a truck driver fails to follow the trucking regulations, the driver's failure to follow the rules can often be used as evidence of the driver's negligence. An overtired driver, for example, is not one who is meeting the duty of care he or she is required to meet. Accordingly, it is essential in any case involving a truck driver to determine whether the federal regulations were violated.

Source: Tennessee Farm Bureau, "Guide to Trucking Laws and Regulations in Tennessee," accessed on Aug. 15, 2015

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