About Hours of Service Regulations
Due to the set of federal regulations known as the "hours of service” laws, truck drivers must abide by a set of rules in order to avoid accidents caused by driver fatigue and sleep deprivation. These laws limit the amount of time that a driver can legally spend on the road and require drivers to periodically take breaks.
Hours of service regulations are established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The regulations state that “property carrying drivers,” such as 18-wheeler drivers, may only drive for 11 total hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours. After 14 consecutive hours on duty, truckers must stop driving for the day. Truck drivers are required to take time to rest throughout their shift. The regulations also state that truckers “may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7 or 8 consecutive days.”
If you suspect that your accident was caused by a driver who was fatigued or fell asleep, it may benefit you and your case to determine if they were in violation of the hours of service rules. Truckers are supposed to keep logs of their trips and time spent driving, which could potentially serve as evidence in a truck accident case. Hours of service regulations can exhibit driver negligence as well as trucking company negligence. If a trucking company requires their drivers to drive beyond the hours established in the regulations, they could be liable for damages.
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