Truck drivers provide an incredibly valuable service, ensuring that the goods we rely on get to their locations in a timely, organized manner. However, these large vehicles can cause major injuries if an accident occurs. That is why there are various federal and state safety regulations in place, including limitations on how many hours commercial truck drivers can operate each day and each week. Here, our Phoenix personal injury attorneys review the truck driver hours of service and discuss why they are so important to reducing driver fatigue.
Why Do Hours of Service Exist?
According to information available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 13% of commercial motor vehicle accidents are reported to be caused by fatigued driving. That is why the hours of service put forth by federal regulators are so important. These hours of service restrict how long a driver is allowed to operate during each working day and during the work week. The hours of service also specify the total amount of breaks a driver should have during the day.
Commercial truck drivers present major hazards on the roadway. The FMCSA indicates research that shows that being awake for 18 hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration of .08%, which is the legal limit for most drivers but double the legal limit for commercial truck drivers in Arizona.
Fatigue can have an adverse effect on a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle. A fatigued driver could have:
- Slowed reaction times
- Slowed reflexes
- Increased distractibility
- Impaired memory or judgment
- Increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel
What Are the Driving Limits?
For commercial, the hours of service are as follows:
- Drivers have an 11-hour driving limit after they have been off duty for ten consecutive hours.
- Drivers cannot operate beyond the 14th consecutive hour after they come on duty after having ten consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after they have driven for eight cumulative hours without a 30-minute interruption. This break can be satisfied by various types of non-driving activities.
- During a seven-day work week, drivers cannot operate more than 60 hours, and during an eight-day work week, drivers cannot operate more than 70 hours. Drivers can restart a work week if they take a period of 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
What Happens After an Accident?
If you or somebody you loved in an accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled Phoenix truck accident lawyer will examine the case and help determine the best steps to recover compensation. This could include pursuing an insurance claim as well as a civil personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party or parties.
Truck accident cases in Arizona can be complicated, but various types of compensation may be available if a claim is successful. This includes coverage of medical expenses arising due to the accident, property damage bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering damages for a victim.