Driver of a truck on the road.

Is a Commercial Trucker Held to Higher Standards on the Road?

By Greg Kohn

Commercial trucks are involved in thousands of accidents each year. Sadly, the majority of the people injured or killed in large truck accidents are occupants of other vehicles. An 80,000-pound semi-truck easily crushes a passenger vehicle. 

Because truck accidents cause catastrophic injuries, commercial truck drivers are held to higher standards on the road compared to other drivers. The higher standards are to protect the public by reducing the risk of truck crashes. In this blog, our New Jersey truck accident lawyer discusses standards for commercial truck drivers.

Higher Standards for Commercial Truck Drivers

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driving a commercial motor vehicle requires a higher level of physical abilities, skills, experience, and knowledge than it does to drive a non-commercial vehicle. Therefore, individuals must pass skills and knowledge tests demonstrating these higher standards to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). 

Additionally, truck drivers are held to a higher standard when operating any motor vehicle on public roads. A serious traffic violation while driving a non-commercial vehicle could impact their ability to maintain the CDL.

The limitation on driving hours is one example of a higher standard. You can drive your car for 8, 10, 12, or more hours without a break, which is not against the law. However, truck drivers have strict hours of service rules that limit the time they can be behind the wheel without a break. The rule is in place to reduce the risk of fatigued truck driver accidents.

Another example of a higher standard for truck drivers is the legal limit for alcohol. The federal legal limit for drunk driving is a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08%. A driver is presumed intoxicated, and their driving abilities are impaired when their BAC is .08% or higher. However, the federal BAC limit for commercial truck drivers is .04%. A truck driver’s CDL could be suspended and revoked if he has a BAC above .04%. 

In addition to enhanced federal standards for truck drivers, many states add additional standards for commercial truck drivers. The goal is to reduce the risk of truck crashes that kill and injure innocent victims.

What Should I Do if I’m Injured in a Commercial Truck Accident in New Jersey?

We often advise you to gather evidence at the accident scene. However, the severity of truck crashes usually causes catastrophic injuries. Emergency medical treatment is the usual course of action after a commercial truck accident. 

Therefore, it is beneficial to contact a New Jersey truck accident attorney immediately after a truck accident. The attorney can take immediate steps to gather and preserve evidence necessary to prove liability for the truck crash. Your attorney also handles the insurance company, trucking company, and all other parties so you can focus on your recovery.

Most accident victims can recover compensation for their economic damages or financial losses. They also receive non-economic damages for their pain and suffering. Truck accidents often cause life-altering impairments that result in ongoing financial losses, diminished quality of life, and other damages. An attorney can help you document your losses to pursue a claim for the total value of your damages. 

Get Help With a Truck Accident Claim From a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney 

Truck accidents cause catastrophic injuries and deaths. You may be entitled to significant compensation for a truck accident claim. Contact Nagel Rice LLP to discuss your case with an experienced New Jersey truck accident attorney.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.