Hours of Service Rules are Important for Safety

By October 26, 2008Trucking Regulations

Federal regulations known as hours of service rules dictate the length of time a truck driver can work without taking a break.
The hours of service regulations are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The rules limit the number of daily and weekly hours truck and bus drivers spend driving and working. The rules also outline the minimum time allowed for breaks between shifts.
Under the current rules, a truck driver must be allowed ten hours off duty if he or she has been behind the wheel for more than 11 hours or has been on-duty for 14 hours. The 14-hour limit allows truckers to take care of non-driving duties such as unloading and loading, fueling up and waiting for vehicle inspections.
In addition to the daily limit, the rules also ban driving if the trucker has been on-duty for 60 hours for seven consecutive days or 70 hours for 8 consecutive days.
The hours of service rules are aimed at reducing driver fatigue. Too many hours behind the wheel disrupts the driver’s circadian rhythm, the internal 24-hour biological clock that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Lengthy drive times also contribute to sleep deprivation. When a driver spends an inordinate amount of time focusing on one task, performance fatigue also sets in.
Unfortunately, fatigue continues to be a major cause of deadly crashes and efforts to help bus and truck drivers remain alert also make the roads safer.
Despite rules promulgated by the Department of Transportation, truck drivers often drive too many hours without the proper amount of sleep. To get around these regulations, some truck drivers falsify travel logs and fail to properly maintain their trucks and trailers. When such reckless behaviors result in a collision that causes injuries or deaths, the driver and the company are liable. An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to obtain the evidence to prove the truck driver and the company are at fault. GPS tracking data can prove the driver and company violated hours of service rules.
If you or a loved one has been injured or a family member has been killed in a collision with a large truck, we urge you to contact the Lowe Law Firm by calling 877-678-3400 or filling out our online contact form.