What Are Truck Drivers’ Responsibilities?

Truck Driver Responsibility TennesseeTruck drivers are the backbone of the United States economy. The more big-rigs you see on the roads of Tennessee and the country, the better the economy is performing. Truck drivers are responsible for transporting food, clothing, and other products across the country from manufacturers to retailers.

However, truck drivers have more responsibilities than just transporting goods from point A to point B, and all of them contribute to safe driving on the roads. If they fail in their duties, they and the people they share the roads with can be seriously hurt.

Timeliness matters, but so does following the rules of the road

One of the biggest responsibilities of a truck driver is timeliness, especially when transporting food or other goods that have expiration dates. Trying to make up lost time is often a big reason for Tennessee truck accidents. A truck driver racing to meet delivery expectations might fail to follow the hours-of-service rules set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or might speed, with both of these scenarios leading to serious accidents.

Part of the HOS requirement is that truck drivers are to log all of their hours in service and downtime hours. Manipulating the logbook, or manipulating data in the “Black Box” to reflect anything other than the truth, is a fireable offense and one that can lead to criminal charges for multiple parties.

A clean driving history is critical for trucker safety

More and more trucking companies are requiring a clean driving record for all of their newly hired truck drivers. This includes having a valid Class A CDL and a spotless driving record. On top of it all, the truck drivers will have to pass a drug and alcohol screening in order to be offered employment. If a truck driver uses drugs or alcohol behind the wheel, has a history of speeding or reckless behaviors, or has a history of accidents and wrecks, the trucking company can be held accountable if you are hurt in a collision.

Maintaining the truck reduces risk of crashes

A truck driver is responsible for maintaining his or her truck. Since the driver is the one assigned to the truck and with it more often than anyone else, he or she must ensure it is running smoothly. Truck drivers must also make sure that the truck is clean, has all snow removed from it before traveling, and follows all traffic laws. If issues are discovered, the truck driver is responsible for logging those issues and having them repaired in a timely manner.

If the truck has defective of broken parts, both the truck driver and the trucking company could be held accountable for any collisions or crashes that are caused by those parts. In some cases, the manufacturer of the truck part can also be held liable.

Ensuring cargo has been loaded correctly

Aside from inspecting the truck for safety and any broken parts, the truck driver is also responsible for ensuring that the cargo being hauled has been loaded correctly. When cargo is overloaded, loaded too much to one side of the truck, or not properly strapped down on a flatbed, it can shift, causing the truck to overturn. Inspecting how the cargo is loaded and the system used to secure it should be performed before the trip and multiple times during the trip.

We all need to be careful when we’re out on the roads in Tennessee, truckers included. You should not have to foot the bill for medical care, lost wages, or damage to your vehicle or property because a trucker driver didn’t follow the laws. The Gladiators in Suits at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm fight vigilantly for our clients so they receive the compensation they deserve. Call our office at 615-425-2500, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our team operates offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, and Clarksville to better serve you.