Commercial truck drivers have fairly strict regulations they must follow, particularly when it comes to their hours of service. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency within the Department of Transportation that stipulates how long commercial truck drivers are allowed to operate their vehicles each day and during each work week. These regulations are made in an attempt to improve road and highway safety by decreasing driver fatigue.
The Hours of Service for Large Commercial Truck Drivers
Commercial truck drivers who operate across state lines must abide by the hours of service requirements laid forth through federal law. The FMCSA is responsible for establishing the hours of service and enforcing this law on truck companies and drivers throughout the country. Violations of the hours of service could result in significant monetary fines for a company or driver, as well as a suspension of a commercial driver’s license.
The hours of service are determined based on daily limits as well as weekly limits.
During each working day, drivers have a 14-hour total on-duty limit, of which they can spend a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel. Drivers can only start these limits over by taking 10 consecutive hours off duty each day.
During the work day, drivers are required to have a 30-minute driving break if they have driven for a period of eight cumulative hours without a previous 30-minute interruption in between. This 30-minute break can be satisfied by a range of non-driving activities, including time in the sleeper berth, meal time, or general break times.
The overall work week is broken into seven or eight days. For a seven-consecutive day period, drivers are allowed to operate for 60 total hours on duty. For an eight-consecutive day period, drivers are allowed to operate for a total of 70 hours on duty. A seven- or eight-day work week can be reset if the driver takes off 34 more consecutive hours.
Drivers can occasionally extend their 11-hour maximum driving time and the 14-hour driving window by up to two hours if they face adverse conditions when driving. Additionally, there are short-haul exceptions that drivers should be aware of that can change the total required hours of service for their day and week.
Liability Issues After a Crash Occurs
If a collision occurs between a larger commercial truck and a smaller vehicle, there will likely be an extensive investigation into the incident. Part of the investigation will include examining the hours of service requirements to ensure the driver followed federal and state law. Failing to follow these laws could result in the driver becoming liable for the incident.
Do You Need Assistance From a Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you or somebody you love has been injured in a truck accident caused by the negligent actions of a truck driver, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. When a truck accident lawyer in Phoenix gets involved in your case, they will investigate every aspect of the claim to help determine what caused the incident. In some cases, there are significant violations of hours of service regulations. Let an experienced Phoenix personal injury attorney get involved to help you recover the compensation you need.