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Business5 Regulations Every Commercial St. Louis Truck Driver Should Be Aware Of

5 Regulations Every Commercial St. Louis Truck Driver Should Be Aware Of

Trucks are the backbone of our economy, keeping goods moving across Missouri and the nation. 

According to a 2020 report by the Missouri Trucking Association (MTA), the state has over 153,000 people employed in trucking and logistics. Moreover, about 72% of Missouri residents are reliant on trucks to haul their supplies. Experts believe the trucking industry contributes billions of dollars to the St. Louis economy annually. 

The MTA estimates that the industry generated over $7.5 billion in annual revenue for Missouri alone. However, contributing to this massive industry requires understanding the strict rules they operate under. As a commercial truck driver in St. Louis, you must adhere to various regulations to ensure safety on the roads. 

Failure to obey these rules can lead to serious ramifications, such as accidents, harsh penalties, and even license cancellation. In this blog, we’ll explore five crucial regulations every St. Louis truck driver should know.

#1. Size and Weight Regulations

The size and weight of a truck directly impact the truck’s handling, its braking distance, and the wear and tear it puts on the tires and the road. Both federal and Missouri state laws set limits. 

St. Louis, Missouri, typically follows these federal guidelines for trucks on designated highways:

  • Maximum Width (load included): 8 feet 6 inches
  • Maximum Height (load included): 14 feet on designated roads (13 feet 6 inches on all others)
  • Maximum Weight: 80,000 pounds (with variations for axle numbers)

Oversized loads may get special permits, but these permits come with specific rules and restrictions. Exceeding these limits can cause fines or even vehicle impoundment.

Bridge clearance is another critical aspect of size and weight regulations. Missouri is dotted with bridges of various heights, and it’s essential to know the clearance requirements for each one. Failure to follow these guidelines can cause significant damage and traffic disruptions.

Proper load securement is equally important. Poorly packed cargo can move during transit, causing accidents and injuries. Take the time to secure your load correctly, following best practices and regulations to mitigate risks.

#2. Alcohol and Drug Screening

The Department of Transportation (DOT) mandates alcohol and drug testing for commercial drivers. Companies must conduct screenings in several situations:

  • Pre-employment: Before a driver gets behind the wheel
  • Random: Unannounced testing throughout employment
  • Post-accident: Mandatory testing after certain crashes
  • Reasonable suspicion/cause: Testing if a supervisor has reason to believe a driver is under the influence
  • Return-to-Duty: Testing before a driver can return to work after a positive test or violation
  • Follow-up: A series of unannounced tests may be required after a driver returns to safety-sensitive duties

These tests use evidential breath testing devices (EBTs) to look for a range of substances, including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines. Failing a drug or alcohol test can lead to immediate disqualification, potential employment termination, and license suspension. 

If you’re struggling with substance abuse issues, don’t hesitate to seek support from rehabilitation programs. Remember, even prescription medications can impair your ability to drive safely, so always disclose any medications you’re taking to your employer.

Your security and that of others on the road are of vital importance. 

The Seriousness of DUI and the Need for Local Expertise

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a severe offense for any driver, but even more so for commercial truck drivers. 

For example, in St. Louis and Missouri, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for commercial drivers is 0.04%, half the standard 0.08% BAC limit for civilian drivers. Remember, zero tolerance is the norm when it comes to drugs. Getting caught with a BAC over the limit, or failing a drug test, has immediate consequences. You could face disqualification, fines, and license suspension. 

Different states and even cities might have additional or stricter rules. This is why, if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you need to contact a St. Louis trucking accident lawyer. Local lawyers understand the specific laws and regulations that apply to your case in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred. 

According to TorHoerman Law, they are best equipped to fight for your rights and minimize the potential penalties.

#3. Hours of Service Regulations

Fatigue is a leading cause of accidents among commercial truckers. To reduce fatigue-related crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established strict hours of service policies. 

You can only drive for up to 11 consecutive hours or work up to 14 consecutive hours, including non-driving duties. Additionally, you must take a 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving and have at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty before your next shift.

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are used to reliably monitor driving periods, assuring compliance with the required service hours. Flexibility provisions within hours of service regulations allow adjustments to accommodate unforeseen circumstances while prioritizing road safety.

For details, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.

#4. Driver Hiring Regulations

Not just anyone can hop in the cab of a big rig. To operate a commercial vehicle, you must:

  • Be at least 21: For driving across state lines or hauling hazardous materials
  • Hold a CDL: A Commercial Driver’s License from the Missouri Department of Revenue with appropriate endorsements (tankers, passenger vehicles, etc.)
  • Pass Background and Medical Checks: Ensuring a safe driving record and physical fitness

Employers must also conduct background checks and ensure drivers have the qualifications and experience.

#5. Truck Inspection and Maintenance

Regular truck inspections and preventative maintenance are crucial for ensuring safe operations. You must conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections to determine any possible concerns regarding brakes, tires, lights, and other critical components. 

Companies are responsible for regular maintenance and must keep detailed logs. Keeping detailed maintenance records is also essential, as it helps prove compliance with regulations. 

Proper upkeep helps avoid breakdowns that could lead to accidents. In the event of a breakdown, knowing emergency repair protocols can help minimize downtime and keep you safe.

In conclusion, as a commercial truck driver in St. Louis, Missouri, understanding these regulations is more than compliance. It’s about safeguarding yourself and those around you.

By understanding and following size and weight limits, undergoing regular drug testing, abiding by hours of service rules, ensuring proper licensing and qualifications, and maintaining your vehicle, you contribute to a safer transportation ecosystem. 

Remember, staying informed and vigilant not only protects your livelihood but also ensures the well-being of everyone sharing the road with you.

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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