Tractor Trailer Safety & Federal Regulations

With I-70 running through both states, Missouri and Illinois residents are no strangers to tractor trailers. In fact, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) estimates that I-70 carries approximately 10,000 trucks per day across Missouri- a number that is supposed to double by 2030. In order to keep drivers safe, these vehicles are heavily regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The FMCSA regulates all aspects of the vehicles and the drivers who operate them. For drivers, the organization sets strict medical standards that state drivers have to be in good physical condition. Basic physical requirements include but are not limited to the following:

  • No history of cardiac trouble.
  • No current clinical diagnosis of high blood pressure.
  • Must have visual acuity of 20/40 in each eye, either naturally or with corrective lenses, the ability to recognize all colors of traffic signals, and a field of vision that extends to at least 70° periphery.
  • Average hearing loss cannot exceed 50 decibels at 3 different frequencies.
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol testing to all who seek a commercial driver’s license (CDL)

Beyond the health of the drivers, the FMCSA takes other measures to ensure the safety of commercial operators and all drivers on the road. Operators of tractor trailers or other large vehicles must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Drivers must have a clean driving record and pass a written and driving test in order to receive a license.

Other regulations dictate the consecutive number of hours a driver can drive as well as the minimum allotted rest times are determined by the administration. Drivers are given a 14-hour duty limit, and are only allowed to drive for 11 hours during that period of duty. Once this cap has been met, the driver is required to take 10 consecutive hours off. All of this information is recorded in a log drivers are required to keep. Currently, many logs are kept by automatic, on-board recording devices that allow authorities and fleet owners easy access to information.

In the state of Missouri alone, there are over 4,000 accidents a year involving tractor trailers. A basic overview of the rules governing these vehicles and ensuring your safety are vital to know, especially in the case of an accident. The law firm of WWF&G knows these laws, and handles numerous personal injury claims resulting from accidents involving tractor trailers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a tractor trailer, please contact our firm at 1-800-WWFGLAW or 618-462-1077.