Semi-trucks are regulated at both the federal and state level. These regulations are designed to make these trucks as safe as possible and still allow them to transport large amounts of products all over the state and country. Below, we present some of the most important regulations you should know.
Federal Regulations: Size and Weight
Federal regulations kick in when trucks operate on the federal interstate highway system. Off the highway system, states can set their own regulations; but, for all intents and purposes, the federal rules are the ones to pay attention to. The federal government has created the following regulations on the size of a semi-truck:
- Maximum height. A truck that is too tall can hit a bridge or other obstruction. The federal government states that the maximum height allowed is 13 feet 6 inches.
- Maximum length. Longer trucks are harder to maneuver. The federal government limits the semitrailer to being 48 feet long.
- Maximum width. Generally, a semi-truck cannot be wider than 8 feet 6 inches. In some cases, a truck can exceed this width if a safety device puts it over.
There are also limitations on gross weight, which is important because heavier trucks take longer to stop. The federal regulations are:
- Single axle: 20,000 pounds
- Tandem axle: 34,000 pounds
- Gross weight: 80,000 pounds
Federal Regulations: Driver Hours
Drowsy drivers pose a clear threat to public safety. When a truck driver is tired, he can fall asleep at the wheel or, at a minimum, his reflexes will be slowed. To protect the public, the federal government has adopted “hours of service” regulations which put limits on the amount of time a person can transport goods in a semi-truck:
- A driver can drive a maximum of 11 hours before needing 10 straight hours off
- A driver cannot drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on shift without at least 10 straight hours off
- A driver should have a half hour sleeper berth after 8 hours driving
- In a 7/8 day period, a driver cannot drive more than 60/70 hours before needing to take 34 or more consecutive hours off
Unfortunately, many drivers feel pressure to violate these rules. They try to get to their destination faster by driving more than legally allowed. It is unsurprising that many accidents result.
Involved in a Truck Accident? Contact Us
Truck accidents have a reputation for being more serious than regular car crashes. If you have been involved in a collision, please contact us today. We offer a free consultation which you can schedule by picking up the phone and calling 305-371-2692.