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A brief look at the Hours of Service rules

Truck accidents, like other motor vehicle accidents, can occur for a variety of reasons. One of the common causes for truck accidents, one which has received a great deal of attention in recent years, is driver fatigue. Because truck drivers spend long hours on the road, and are often pressured by their employers to maximize productivity, they are prone to spend more hours behind the wheel than they should.

Federal regulators have established limits on driving times as a way to address the problem. These rules are known as the Hours of Service rules, a summary of which can be found on the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Hours of Service rules vary slightly for property-carrying drivers and passenger-carrying drivers. 

For property-carrying drivers, the rules can be briefly summarized as follows:

  • No driving for more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty;
  • No driving at all after 14 consecutive hours on duty;
  • Take a minimum rest break of at least 30 minutes after 8 consecutive hours on duty;
  • No driving for more than 60/70 hours over 7/8 consecutive days. This period can be restarted by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off duty.

The restart rule used to include a requirement that drivers include two rest periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., but that measure was suspended so that further research could be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the rule in preventing truck driver fatigue.

In our next post, we’ll say more about the topic of truck driver fatigue, and the importance of working with an experienced personal injury attorney when seeking to recover damages

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