4 Things Passenger Cars Can Do That Are Illegal for 18-Wheelers


At Dugas Law Firm we frequently discuss the topic of commercial trucking safety and dangerous trucker behaviors because we are committed to helping inform our clients and readers about the risks they may face on the road due to these massive vehicles. It should come as no surprise that given the extreme size and weight of 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks, combined with the often volatile or toxic cargo they may be carrying, commercial truck drivers are subject to some additional laws that drivers are regular passenger vehicles are not.


Texting and driving is an extremely dangerous behavior and is not recommended for any drivers. However, in the state of Texas it is not illegal for the drivers of passenger vehicles to text and drive unless they are in a school zone. Drivers with learner’s permits rather than full licenses are also prohibited. However, while regular passenger drivers in Texas may send off a quick text without breaking the law that is not the case for commercial truckers.

It is illegal for 18-wheeler truckers and commercial truck drivers of any kind to send a text while driving. Operating a large commercial truck simply demands too much of the trucker’s attention to ever allow for safe texting while driving. A split second of inattention could have deadly consequences.


In addition to being prohibited specifically from texting while driving, commercial truck drivers are prohibited from operating a handheld phone in general while driving, even if they are using it to make voice calls. Once again this is because data clearly shows that using a handheld phone while driving does occupy a driver’s attention and reduces reaction time. Drivers of regular passenger cars are legally allowed to use a handheld phone while driving in Texas; however, it may be wise to switch to a handsfree device or postpone a call for additional safety, especially when driving in hazardous conditions or unfamiliar locations.


A radar detector is designed to alert the person operating it that radar, such as the kind used by police officers to clock driving speed, is being used near them. This in turn may allow a speeding motorist to slow down before he or she is caught and ticketed for a speeding violation. The use of radar detectors is often quite controversial all on its own. However, when it comes to commercial trucker drivers the situation is a lot simpler: it is illegal for 18-wheeler truckers to use radar detectors.

In fact it is illegal for commercial trucks to even have a radar detector on-board, even if it is not in use. This makes sense because while it is important for everyone to obey the speed limit and other rules of the road, it is especially crucial for 18-wheeler drivers to do so. Consider the fact that due to simple physics and momentum an 18-wheeler has a much longer stopping distance than a regular call or light truck. This means that excessive speed is even more and thus any indication that a trucker may be attempting to subvert speed limit laws, may have already done so, or may be planning to do so, is clear cause for alarm.


There’s nothing wrong with trying to make a little extra cash by giving another person a ride through a service such as Uber or Lyft, unless of course you’re a commercial truck driver. The same goes for unexpectedly giving a friend or family member a ride. For a regular driver this is simply a good deed; for a truck driver this is illegal. Commercial truck drivers are required to carry only authorized passengers who have been specifically identified in writing beforehand. This may seem surprising at first, but there is a very strong and compelling reason: safety.

Commercial trucks often carry hazardous materials that can do a lot of harm if they fall into the wrong hands. However, even regular cargo trucks or empty trucks can still pose a major threat due to the increased potential for accidents and the increase damage and injuries such accidents would cause. An unplanned passenger creates a host of unknown, often dangerous variables. The person may distract the trucker, attempt to rob or hijack the truck, suddenly require medical attention, or any number of other scenarios that would increase the risk of accident.

At Dugas Law Firm we are committed to helping commercial trucking accident victims receive the justice and fair compensation they are entitled to. If you have been involved in an 18-wheeler accident, especially if the trucker was engaging in one of the four illegal activities discussed above, please contact us for a consultation.

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