The Rules of the Road Aren’t the Same for all Drivers

For most drivers most of the time, the rules are mostly the same. But there are certain times and places, as well as certain drivers, where the rules change. Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers have a number of additional rules and responsibilities when driving, because of the increased size, financial value, and possible passenger load of the vehicles they drive.

In addition, there are many situations where other drivers are required to follow a different set of rules from the usual course of driving. These include things like school zones, construction areas, and school bus zones. They also include situations when driving around pedestrians and bicyclists.

If you have been injured in an accident with a driver who wasn’t following the rules of the road, you may be eligible for compensation. Get in touch with an attorney soon. Many attorneys offer a free consultation before taking on your case, so there’s no commitment when you consider your options.

CMV Drivers

The biggest difference between commercial drivers and other drivers is that CMV drivers have to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL). There are a variety of types of CDLs, with a number of different classes and endorsements. This means that some drivers will be allowed to operate vehicles with a higher or lower weight, number of passengers, or types of materials.

The requirements for school bus drivers are even more stringent. In order to qualify as a school bus driver, you must have a CDL already. In addition, you must be at least 21 years old, pass a criminal records check, pass a driving record check, pass a physical, and pass an in-service drug and alcohol screening. In addition to all that, bus drivers go through a 30-hour classroom instruction, followed by 10 hours of bus training. Drivers must also spend 4 hours getting familiar with the model of bus they will be driving.

There are further requirements for shuttle drivers, taxi drivers, and chauffeurs.

Sharing the Road with Cyclists and Pedestrians

There are several other requirements for drivers around cyclists and pedestrians. Louisiana law specifies that drivers must yield right-of-way to pedestrians in the same half of the roadway as the vehicle. Where there are traffic control devices (such as crosswalks) present, pedestrians must cross the street only at those locations.

The rules are also different when drivers encounter bicyclists. Louisiana has a Safe Passing Law, which requires a driver to exercise due care when passing a bicycle. Specifically, a driver must leave a margin of three feet between the vehicle and the bicycle and may pass in a no-passing zone only when it is safe to do so. Furthermore, when using the highway a driver is required to take precautions so that opening a door will not interfere with another person or vehicle. In addition, bicyclists are considered “vulnerable road users,” and it is illegal to harass, taunt, or maliciously throw objects at them.

Other Situations Where the Rules Change

The rules of the road also change in situations where construction is being done on the roads. This may include closed lanes, reduced speed limits, and other changes in the normal flow of traffic.

Traffic laws change in school zones, particularly at the beginning and end of the school day. This can include the need to stop, and most of the time a crossing guard will be present to direct traffic.

Most of the changes to the rules of the road will be clearly marked, so it’s always a good idea to pay attention to the signs in any unfamiliar areas.