Because of the intense pressure to quickly deliver a load and pick up a new load and the long hours truckers drive, truck driver fatigue is a huge problem—and the cause of many deadly truck accidents. In an attempt to combat the problem, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted federal regulations governing how long a truck driver can drive without taking a break. However, some trucking companies and truckers violate these rules, and the result is that truckers continue to cause crashes caused by their fatigue.
Important Hours of Service Rules That You Need to Know
The hours of service rules apply to commercial truck drivers and trucking company that transport goods or other products across state lines. Since most truckers drive through many states, these rules apply to most truckers involved in a truck accident. Important rules to follow include:
- 14-hour rule. A trucker is allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours to drive for up to 11 hours after being off work for 10 consecutive hours or more. Nap times or meal breaks are included in this 14-hour period.
- 11-hour limit. During the 14-hour time period discussed above, a truck driver is only allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours. However, truckers are not allowed to drive more than eight hours after their last off-duty or sleeper-berth time without taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Once a trucker has driven his 11 hours, he is not permitted to drive until he has been off-duty for 10 consecutive hours.
- 30-minute rest break. After working eight hours from their last off-duty or sleeper-berth time, a trucker must stop driving and take at least a 30-minute rest break before resuming driving.
- 60 or 70 hours of duty. The 60 or 70 hours of duty rules sets the total amount that a trucker can drive in a seven or eight-day work week. If the trucking company operates seven days a week, the trucker can drive a maximum of 70 hours in an eight-day period. When the trucking company only operates six or fewer days per week, the truck driver is only allowed to work 60 hours in a seven-day work week.
How Hours of Service Rules Can Apply in Your Truck Accident Case
When you file a claim for compensation following a truck crash, you must prove the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence caused your injuries. If the trucker was fatigued at the time of your accident, he may have violated the hours of service rules and driven longer than allowed. This violation can be the basis of your claim of negligence against the truck driver and trucking company and establish your right to compensation.
However, you must prove the violation of these rules. The trucker’s daily activity log, cell phone records, and receipts for food and gas are few of the documents that you will need. You will need the help of an experienced truck accident attorney to obtain these documents from the trucking company.
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, our experienced truck accident legal team is here to help. Schedule your free consultation by filling out our online form today.