Perhaps, you are familiar with commercial trucks and other big-rig vehicles. Then, you will agree that driving them is often more challenging than driving other smaller passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, driving commercial trucks is also riskier than driving passenger vehicles, and you can quickly get into a trucking accident if you are not careful. This is even more true for people who drive on the busy Tampa roads. Thankfully, the government has enacted various Tampa trucking laws and regulations today to prevent such dangerous accidents.
Of course, you already know that Tampa has more vehicles on its roads than most other American cities. As a result, the roads are almost always busy, and you have a higher chance of getting in an accident here.
However, the good news is that you can drastically reduce your chances of getting into such accidents if you drive carefully and observe relevant traffic laws. Moreover, violating these rules can get you into legal trouble. And you sure do not want to be in such situations.
Luckily, this article will discuss some essential Tampa trucking laws you should know for better compliance. So, please read until the end if you want to learn more about these laws.
Why is it Crucial to Learn About Tampa Trucking Laws?
As already mentioned, learning about Tampa trucking laws can help to reduce your chances of getting involved in an accident situation here. In addition, you should know that all traffic laws and regulations are enacted to protect road users from accidents and other unfortunate road situations. So, it will be in your best interest to observe these regulations.
Learning about traffic regulations and laws in Tampa will also help to protect you from legal troubles. You are more likely to violate specific traffic regulations if you do not know about them, and this can land you in trouble with the authorities. It can also get you into a lengthy legal battle with other road users.
Finally, understanding how traffic laws and regulations work in Tampa will boost your chances of getting adequate settlement for your damages if you get into a Tampa trucking accident. These lawyers will help you to navigate the claim and negotiation process for your best possible settlement.
What Vehicle Qualifies as a Commercial Truck in Tampa?
According to Florida state laws, a commercial truck is any vehicle whose gross weight is more than 26000 pounds or has more than two axles and is not operated or owned by a government body. Therefore, any such vehicle in the Tampa area qualifies as a commercial truck.
What Qualifications does the Law Require of a Tampa Truck Driver
Drivers in Tampa can only drive a truck or other big commercial vehicles if they meet specific qualifications. Some of them include the following:
- All truck drivers should be of legal age. The legal age for driving in Tampa is 18 years, and Tampa trucking laws require that all truck drivers within the state should get to this age before they can be licensed. The law also requires that interstate truck drivers should get to 21 years before they can be licensed.
- They should be fluent in the English language. Tampa trucking laws also require that truckers in the area should speak, read, and understand the English language.
- They should be physically fit and have good eyesight for the job. Another crucial requirement for truck drivers in Tampa is being physically fit. Of course, you should know that driving a commercial truck requires physical and mental strength. The law stipulates that drivers who do not meet these requirements are not allowed in Tampa.
Truckers in Tampa are also expected to have very good eyesight, with a visual field of 70 degrees at the least. Plus, they should be able to tell between the green, yellow, and red traffic light signals.
- They should have a safe driving record. Finally, Tampa trucking laws require that truckers in the area should have a safe driving record before they can be fully licensed. This means they shouldn’t have any record of traffic offenses like evading traffic authorities, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, or driving under the influence of hard drugs or alcohol.
What does the Law Say About Truckers’ Hours of Service?
It is no news that driver fatigue contributes largely to many trucking accidents on our roads today. Thankfully, government authorities have established rules that guide how long truckers can stay behind the wheels at a stretch before they take a break and rest.
According to Tampa trucking laws, truckers are required to keep a log of the time they spend on the road. Also, employers are expected to inspect this log regularly to confirm that the drivers comply with all log regulations. An electronic recording device is often used to track these logs, using a 24-hour recording format. Here are some of the log requirements for drivers according to Tampa trucking laws:
For truckers operating within Tampa
- The driver cannot drive their truck above 12 hours after ten straight hours off duty.
- The driver shouldn’t drive after the 16th consecutive hour since coming on duty from 10 straight hours off duty.
- The driver is also not allowed to drive after being behind the wheel for 70 hours in 7 straight days. Or after being on duty for 80 hours in 8 days. Instead, the driver can only drive again after taking a break and resting for at least 34 consecutive hours.
For drivers who are involved in interstate commercial driving
- They cannot drive above 11 cumulative hours after staying off duty for ten consecutive hours.
- They are not allowed to drive above 14 hours consecutively after staying off duty for ten consecutive hours.
- They are required to take a break for at least 30 minutes after driving for eight consecutive hours.
- They are not allowed to stay behind the wheel for above 60 cumulative hours in 7 consecutive days or more than 70 cumulative hours in 8 days. However, these periods reset after they have taken a break for at least 34 consecutive hours.
It is crucial to note that Tampa trucking laws prohibit falsifying or filing wrong information on the logbook. If any driver does this, then their employer will be held liable. The truck driver’s employer is also responsible for mapping out delivery routes and schedules to help drivers reach delivery destinations without exceeding speed limits or hours-of-service rules.
Truly, the laws that guide a trucker’s service hours can confuse less experienced people.
What does the Law Say About Inspection Requirements for Truckers?
According to Florida state laws, all truckers should adequately inspect their vehicles all the time, before their shift, and before resuming trips. While doing this inspection, drivers are required to watch out for specific parts of their trucks. This ensures that the parts are functional and in good condition because a fault in these parts can be disastrous. Some of the parts include the following:
- Warning lights, headlights, and reflectors.
- Dashboard gauges.
- Windshield wipers.
- Emergency equipment.
- Turn signals.
- Cargo securing equipment.
- Underride protection.
- Engine, steering, clutch/transmission, and axles.
- Wheels and tires.
Of course, you should know that a fault in any of these parts or equipment can be problematic and might lead to trucking accidents. Therefore, Tampa trucking laws have made it compulsory that truckers should carry out regular checks and maintenance on them.
Truck drivers should also report any fault in these parts or equipment to the trucking company for adequate repairs. Plus, they can drive their trucks in Tampa once the repairs have been completed.
We have established that learning about Tampa trucking laws can help you to avoid truck accidents in the area. Thankfully, we have also discussed some essential laws you should know as a truck driver here. Indeed, this article’s information will help keep you safe and protected while trucking in Tampa.
It would also help if you hired a Tampa trucking accident lawyer or a personal injury lawyer as a trucker in Tampa. These lawyers know the law enough to represent you if you get in a Tampa trucking accident.
You may be currently considering hiring an attorney. Then you should contact us at Coleman Law Group now. Rest assured, we are dedicated to helping you understand everything you should know about Tampa trucking laws.