Commercial truck drivers are a unique breed of people in many ways. They have to spend hours on end behind the wheel. It can be a lonely existence. However, most drivers who share the road with them are thankful that they don’t have the distraction of a passenger sitting next to them. Or do they?
Can commercial truck drivers have passengers? Can they bring along a spouse or a child with whom they get to spend too little time? Can they pick up a hitchhiker or someone they meet along the way who needs a ride in the direction they’re going (ignoring the potential threat to their own personal safety)?
No federal prohibition
Despite the number of federal regulations that govern trucking companies and commercial truck drivers, there’s no prohibition on truck drivers having a passenger in the cab of the truck as long as their employer provides written authorization. Every company has its own rules.
Companies that allow it may not have the same rules for everyone. For example, they may allow long-term employees with a solid record to bring along a passenger but not newer drivers.
A trucker can’t just decide at the last minute to bring along or pick up someone. Passengers typically have to pass a background check, and the trucker has to provide specifics about when and where the passenger will be with them. After all, these companies must look out for the safety of their drivers, their trucks and their cargo.
What about pets?
Most companies are more lenient when it comes to four-legged passengers. If a trucker wants to bring along their dog, they’re more likely to get the okay. However, even companies that allow pets have requirements around the type and number of animals allowed. Of course, they can be highly distracting in their own ways, even when they’re secured in a seat.
Either a human or four-legged passenger can distract a truck driver, leading to a potentially catastrophic crash. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a crash caused by a commercial trucker, it’s crucial to determine all the facts about what caused the crash and what parties bear responsibility.
Finding out whether a driver was distracted by a passenger (and whether they had the company’s approval) for that passenger is among those facts. That’s why having experienced legal guidance is important in getting the compensation you need.