Driving a truck carries a bit more responsibility than driving a car.
Cars are easier to control and handle and while cars and trucks can be dangerous, trucks can cause significantly more damage.
Accidents involving trucks generally are more severe and serious than those involving cars. Trucks have a higher chance of going out of control, causing significantly more damage to property and other drivers.
Trucks also make for ways to conceal and transport illegal and hazardous products. They can even transport people.
In the present day and age where terrorism and increased violence persist, more pressure is put on trucking companies to thoroughly vet their drivers.
What are the security rules and regulations drivers must abide by?
Truck Safety Inspections
Each truck is required to be checked every year by members of the Department of Transportation (DOT). These six levels that make up the inspection look at both the condition of the truck and the credentials of the truck driver. The levels of the DOT inspection are as follows:
1) Level I: North American Standard Inspection
This part of the inspection includes looking at the operator’s driver license, medical certificate, waiver, and hours of driving. The truck’s seat belts, turn signals, tail lights, head lights, steering wheel, exhaust system, wheels and fuel system will also be examined.
2) Level II: Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection
This second level includes the same procedure as the first level, but in addition, an inspector will inspect the bottom of the tuck.
3) Level III: Driver-Only Inspection
This third level only looks at the operator’s driving license, medical card and daily driving log.
4) Level IV: Special Inspection
This level of the DOT inspection is only conducted and needed when a particular problem with the truck has been reported.
5) Level V: Vehicle-Only Inspection
The fifth level looks at the same elements of the truck as in level one, with the only exception of the driver being absent.
6) Level VI: Enhanced NAS Inspection for Radioactive Shipments
This level of DOT inspections are only done on trucks carrying dangerous radioactive or flammable contents.
As trucks are dangerous pieces of machinery, companies need to be sure they hire drivers who are responsible, reliable, and law-abiding. As the lives of other motorists are in their hands, drivers can’t have a record of drug or alcohol abuse and must be clean of both.
All drivers must first self-certify at their local DMV disclosing the specific nature of the trucking they do. Failure to self-certify and present a current medical card (if applicable) will result in a loss of his or her CDL.
All truck drivers need to have a current driver’s license and CDL in their possession at all times. Failure to do so may lead to suspension of their truck driving license.
In addition to a driver’s license and a CDL, some truck drivers engaged in interstate commerce will need to pass physical requirements set by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Successful passing of the DOT physical test will result in the issuance of a medical card that also must be carried at all times. The medical card notifies DOT that the driver is physically able to operate a truck.
Failure to present a valid medical card will result in the denial of re-issuance of a driver’s CDL.
Each state has slightly different requirements in obtaining a class A commercial truck driver’s license. Aspiring truck drivers are encouraged to attend a certified truck driving school in the state in which they want to get their license in.
Each state, however, shares four general requirements in obtaining a CDL. These include: meeting the minimum CDL requirements such as age and physical requirements, passing necessary written exams to obtain a CDL permit, satisfy the requirements for specific endorsements (HazMat endorsements, for example require a driver background check), and pass a three-part hands-on driving exam to test skills and ultimately get a CDL license.
A certified commercial truck driving school is a great way to quickly get a start on your truck driving career. At Commercial Vehicle Training Center, our trained and experienced instructors will provide you with the skills and behind-the-wheel experience you need to quickly get your CDL.
Contact us today for more information.