You are driving on the highway while minding your own business when suddenly you come up beside a massive 18-wheeler. There is nothing fun or exciting about driving near a big rig. These huge vehicles may block your view and they may drift into your lane. Their enormous size and weight make them particularly dangerous if you get into a wreck with them.
With their large size and high speeds, trucks represent a major safety risk and are involved in thousands of fatalities on American highways each year. Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a new regulation that would require all large commercial vehicles over 26,000 pounds be equipped with speed limiters. However, not all professional truckers think that's a good thing.
State and federal laws require truck drivers to obtain and maintain a valid commercial driver's license. The Illinois Secretary of State says that Congress passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety of 1986 due to a prior patchwork of laws that posed risks to anyone on the road when an unqualified driver got behind the wheel of a tractor trailer. To drive a massive truck in Illinois a driver must be qualified to handle the rig (subject to specified exemptions). To obtain a valid CDL, the driver must pass a battery of tests to show his or her knowledge and ability to safely handle the vehicle.