How Truck Driver Hours of Service Regulations Factor Into Your Accident

truck_driverIn an effort to reduce the number of deadly truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted many regulations governing trucking companies and truck drivers.

Operator fatigue is a common cause of truck wrecks that FMCSA is trying to combat through of hours of service regulations.
 

These rules are designed to solve the problem of truckers driving too many hours without a break—which increases the likelihood that he or she will become drowsy or fall asleep at the week and cause a catastrophic crash.
 

Unfortunately, many truckers don't follow these rules, and you or a loved one could pay the price if injured in a big rig, tanker, or commercial bus accident.

What Are the FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations?

The hours of service regulations must be followed by trucking companies and truck operators who engage in interstate commerce, which is basically travelling across state lines. Because this is a federal regulation, it applies in all states—including Florida.

Here are the basic rules truckers must follow:

  • 11-hour limit. A trucker can drive a maximum of 11 hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
  • 14-hour rule. Once a truck driver comes on duty following 10 consecutive hours off-work, he's not permitted to drive more than 14 consecutive hours. Off-duty time won't extend this time limit on driving.
  • Rest breaks. Truckers can only continue driving if eight hours or less has passed since their last off-duty or sleeper berth time of at least 30 minutes.
  • 60/70 rule. If a trucking company is in operation seven days a week, a trucker can drive a maximum of 70 hours in an eight-day period. If the trucking company is closed one or more days of the week, an operator is only permitted to drive 60 hours in a seven-day period.
  • Sleeper berth requirement. When a trucker uses the sleeper berth provision, he must take at least eight consecutive hours in his sleeper berth. In addition, he must have an additional two-hour break either in his sleeper berth, off-duty, or a combination of both.

Truckers are required to keep log books where they record their hours of driving and taking breaks. Unfortunately, trucking companies and operators may falsify or alter these log records to hide violations of hours of service regulations.

If you were injured in a commercial vehicle collision, you need an experienced truck accident attorney who understands the complex federal laws and regulations that may apply to your case and how to prove the true hours that the trucker worked.

Learn about our experience in these cases and how we can assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve. Call our office to schedule a free consultation.