What are the hours of service rules for truckers?

In Florida, large trucks are commonplace on the roadways. Motorists are used to sharing the roads with these massive vehicle used to transport goods to destinations near and far. This does not mean there are no risks and dangers associated with traveling near tractor-trailer trucks and semi-trucks. An overworked or fatigued truck driver is extremely dangerous and could be the cause of a serious truck crash.

Fatigued truck drivers often go hand-in-hand with hours of service violations. Whether a truck driver needs the extra money or a trucking company is pushing to make deliveries before deadlines, violating this federal trucking regulation can be serious, as it is likely the cause of a serious or even fatal truck accident.

What are the hours of service rules for truckers? With regards to commercial truck carrying property, the truck driver is only allowed to driver 11 hours a day. This 11-hours on-duty driving limit may only begin after the truck driver has taken a 10 consecutive hour off duty break.

There is also a 14-hour limit. It states that a drive may not drive beyond 14 hours after coming on duty, following their 10 consecutive hours off duty. Extending the off-duty period does not extend this 14-hour on-duty period.

For rest breaks, a driver may only drive if 8 hours or less has passed since the end of driver's last off-duty period or had a sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. This does not apply to drivers using either of the short-haul exceptions. Finally, there is a 60 or 70 hours limit. This means that a driver may not drive after working 60 or 70 hours during 7 or 8 consecutive days. A driver is able to restart a 7 or 8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours of off duty.

Following a truck accident, it is important to understand the cause of the crash. If an hour of service violation is to blame, a victim could use that information in their pursuit of a civil action. A personal injury claim could help place liability on a negligent party and assist with the recovery of compensation.

Source: FMCSA.DoT.gov, "Summary of Hours of Service Regulations," accessed on March 25, 2018

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