Commercial drivers held to higher safety standard

It is well known that drivers need to be licensed in order to operate a motor vehicle. There are age restrictions, training that has to be completed and traffic laws that must be learned and obeyed for a person to obtain and keep a driver’s license.

However, just because you are a licensed driver doesn’t mean you can operate any type of vehicle. Most drivers in Tennessee have a license that allows them to operate vehicles that weigh 26,000 pounds or less and transport no more than 15 people. But in order to drive a bus or commercial vehicle, you will also need to obtain a commercial driver’s license. Getting a CDL requires a person to have additional training, understand commercial transportation-specific laws and meet certain requirements.

Drivers who hold a CDL are required to comply with certain laws and obligations in order to keep their license that other drivers may not have to. To begin with, a person will have to undergo additional knowledge and skills tests and have a medical certification status added to his or her record.

Further, drivers with a CDL are typically held to a higher standard when it comes to driving safely, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For example, regular drivers are permitted to use a handheld phone while driving in Tennessee. Bus and commercial drivers, on the other hand, are prohibited from using a handheld phone for any reason while driving.

Additionally, while regular drivers are urged not to drive while drowsy, drivers with a CDL must comply with strict Hours of Service regulations that limit the number of hours they can be on the road. 

The threshold for drunk driving is also set at a lower blood alcohol concentration for people with a CDL.

Many people aren’t aware of these rules and restrictions that apply to drivers with a CDL, which can play a critical role in a crash involving a bus or truck. In order to determine if a commercial vehicle driver was in violation of CDL regulations, and may therefore be liable for any damages done in an accident, it can be a good idea for victims of these crashes to consult a personal injury attorney.

Source: AAA, “Types of Drivers Licenses,” accessed on April 28, 2015