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What Are the Most Common Truck Driver Violations?

We see large trucks around us every day, whether on city roads making local deliveries or on the interstate transporting cargo across the country. They drive long hours and often push themselves too hard to meet deadlines, which, in turn, can lead them to make poor decisions while operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

Truck drivers operate vehicles that are much larger and heavier than the other vehicles on the road around them.

When these drivers choose to violate road laws or make dangerous shortcuts while driving, it can lead to tickets, license suspension, and, often, deadly accidents.

But what exactly are the most common truck driver violations and how do these violations affect other drivers?

We’ll show some data and explain more in this post.

Moving Violations

CMV drivers are cited for violations that occur while actively operating their vehicle, also known as moving violations. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), those are:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Following too closely
  • Improper lane changes
  • Improper turns
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Failure to obey a traffic control device
  • Railroad crossing violations

These violations may sound familiar and that’s because a lot of drivers at one time or another have committed these offenses and are often ticketed for them. The difference here is that when truck drivers violate road laws while operating these large vehicles, the outcome is often deadly.

Large trucks can’t stop as quickly as smaller vehicles can; they also have enormous blind spots on all sides of the vehicle, and their drivers are often overworked and exhausted or, possibly, under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All of this can easily add up to a severe vehicle collision, just from one CMV driver’s poor choice.

Other Common Violations

In addition to the above-listed moving violations, the FMSCA also reports the following as frequently cited violations for CMV drivers:

  • Failing to use a seat belt
  • Using a hand-held mobile device
  • Driver in possession of a narcotic drug/amphetamine while on duty
  • Failing to use hazard warning flashes
  • Operating a property-carrying CMV with unrestrained passengers
  • Using or equipping a CMV with a radar detector
  • Driver having possession of alcohol while on duty or in physical control of a CMV
  • Unauthorized passenger on board a CMV
  • Texting while driving a CMV

Not only do these violations pose a great risk to truck drivers themselves, but to every other driver around them. If the operator of a 72-foot-long 80,000-pound vehicle (the average length and gross loaded weight of an 18-wheeler) decides to drive under the influence, is distracted, or pulls a dangerous maneuver while behind the wheel, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Dangers of CMV Driver Violations

It’s well known that accidents involving trucks are often devastating and deadly. So, when these violations are committed by CMV drivers, it’s important to understand the outcome the drivers’ poor choices cause. Truck drivers not adhering to road laws often leads to:

  • Head-on collisions
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Vehicle rollovers
  • Jackknifing

These situations and so many more would be entirely avoidable if CMV operators chose to follow the rules of the road and the duty of care expected of all drivers. Instead, truck driver violations cause innocent people to be injured or killed.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reported that 5,700 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2021, leading to 5,788 deaths. Additionally, data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that 48% of fatal truck crashes in 2021 occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, with 50% of these occurring between the hours of 6:00 am and 3:00 pm.

As you can see, these incidents can occur anywhere at any time, but poor decision-making shouldn’t.

The Aftermath of Truck Accidents

Even with federal rules in place regulating how many hours CMV drivers can work, truck drivers push themselves and their vehicles to the limits. They’re often on a tight deadline or trying to get to their destination sooner so they can get the next load and make more money. So, they may take shortcuts and decide to commit any of the previously mentioned violations.

When this happens, so do accidents.

California is one of the top three states where truck accidents occur. If you’ve been in a collision with a truck in the Golden State, it’s important to have an experienced truck accident lawyer from Frost Law Firm, PC, on your side.

Truck drivers make their choices to violate road laws and they should be held responsible for their bad decisions that harm others.

Our Experience Is Personal

Scott L. Frost’s Family Experience with Lung Cancer

For most of his life, Scott L. Frost’s father, who was in the construction industry, worked with and sold products containing asbestos without knowing the materials were dangerous. He was diagnosed with lung cancer 40 years after starting his career, leading Scott’s family to fight like they had never fought before.

Pictured here with his wife of over 50 years, Scott’s father eventually succumbed to the cancer. Since then, Scott has made it his mission to do everything in his power to make sure corporations understand how dangerous asbestos is and prevent future generations from suffering as his family did, as well as support research that may lead to finding a cure.

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