Driving in Los Angeles can be a pleasure when you are driving along a highway when there is little to no traffic congestion even for those doing commercial truck driving.
However, it can be frustrating for commercial truck drivers if they get caught in the infamous traffic jams.
Regardless of the state or city where you are driving, it is imperative to be acquainted with the driving rules set forth by the regulatory authority. This guide spells out all the rules and regulations that all the commercial truck drivers need to know before they hit the road.
Driving rules and regulations are established and enforced both at the federal level and at the state level.
At the federal level, there is an organization under the Department of Transportation called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that imposes and monitors federal laws all truck drivers must obey.
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations lists all the rules and laws established by the FMCSA for truckers.
At the state level, there are organizations like the California Motor Carrier Operating Authority and the office of public safety that strives that the trucking industry remains safer in the state. Violation of any law or rule could have severe repercussions in the form of fines and accidents.
LA Truck Driving Rules:
The laws enacted by FMCSA were made for Commercial Motor Vehicles and reduce the number of accidents on our roads. A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is any vehicle that fits the following criterion:
- It is used as a part of a business
- It is used for interstate commerce
- It weighs 10,001 lbs or more
- It is transporting hazardous material in a large quantity that requires placards
Such vehicles must follow the rules imposed by the FMCSA and the respective state. Below we detail down some of the main rules that the trucking companies and employees must follow in LA.
The California Air Resources Board regulations require all heavy-duty vehicles operating in California to reduce their toxic emissions.
The law requires nearly all trucks and buses to have 2010 or newer model engines by January 1, 2023. Starting in 2020, the California DMV will only register vehicles compliant with this regulation to reduce the dangerous particulate matter and emissions of nitrogen oxides.
The FMCSA imposes hours of service restrictions that limit the duration of driving without a break. The regulation is aimed at reducing the rate of fatigued truck drivers. Here is a breakdown of the hours of service regulations:
- Property-carrying vehicles: The law prohibits a property-carrying CMV from driving 11 hours after having been off-duty for 10 hours. Drivers are also not allowed to drive a CMV after being on-duty for 60 hours in a week.
- Passenger-carrying vehicles: For passenger-carrying CMVs, the law limits their driving time to 10 hours. It also prohibits driving a CMV after having been on the road for 15 hours. The 5 hours difference between the on-duty and driving limit compensates for the non-driving activities like fueling, loading, and unloading of passengers or luggage, meals, and rest breaks.
- Driver’s Logbook: A logbook is a notebook with a grid pattern that divides 24 hours of the day into 96 segments. All the drivers are required to record their time in the logbook.
The rules also put berth provisions in place that require drivers to rest after some time. Breaking the rules either for faster delivery times or some incentives by the company will have consequences both for the driver and the company.
In California, all rental vehicles that are CMVs must stop at weigh stations for inspection. A vehicle is considered a CMV under California law if it has a gross vehicle weight rating of 11,500 lbs or more. An open box-type bed that exceeds 9 feet is also considered a commercial vehicle. All such vehicles are required to stop at weigh stations for inspection. Failing to do so is considered an infringement of the Californian law.
Rules for Distracted Driving:
It is illegal to drive a vehicle with earplugs in both ears. There is an exception made for trash truck drivers or anyone using earplugs specifically designed to reduce injurious noise levels.
Installing a GPS in the middle of the windshield is also outlawed by the state. Drivers can attach a GPS unit only to the lower corners on either side of the windshield.
Additionally, drivers are barred from texting while driving to ensure the safety of the driver, passengers, and everyone on the road.
There are two truck-only lanes in California, one in Los Angeles County and the other in Kern County. Only trucks are allowed to operate in these two lanes. Being an economic hub of the country, companies in California routinely offer truck driving jobs in Los Angeles and Kern Counties; however, drivers need to get themselves accustomed to the highway signs and rules of the state before applying.
These are some of the rules that every truck driver must know before they get behind the wheel. Follow these rules and enjoy the scenic drives of Los Angeles.