Commercial Trucking Hours of Service Regulations and Your Case
Hours of service regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) exist for the safety of truck drivers and vehicles around them. Driving for too long can result in loss of focus, attention, and reaction time. In some cases, drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. A truck driver violating hours of service regulations may be proof of negligence in your trucking accident case. Contact Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. today to learn more about your unique commercial truck accident claim and how an experienced truck accident attorney can help.
What Does the FMCSA Say About Hours of Service Regulations?
Federal hours of service rules list five main regulations that truck drivers must obey when on the job. All truck drivers in the country must abide by these laws, regardless of what state they’re operating within. Property-carrying drivers and passenger-carrying drivers have different hours of service obligations. In general, commercial truckers must obey the following limits:
- 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty (property-carrying) or 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty (passenger-carrying).
- 14 hours after coming on shift after 10 consecutive hours off duty (property-carrying) or 15 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty (passenger-carrying).
- No truck driver may exceed a 60/70-hour limit in seven/eight consecutive driving days. A truck driver may restart seven/eight-day periods after 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers may only drive if eight or fewer hours have passed since their last 30-minute off-duty or sleeper berth period.
- Drivers in sleeper berths must spend at least eight hours in the sleeper (passenger-carrying). Sleeper berth time can be split into two separate periods as long as both are at least two hours long. Cargo-carrying drivers must take an additional (separate) two consecutive hours off-duty or in the sleeper berth.
A trucking company or employer pressuring its drivers to meet deadlines could be a form of negligence if it results in a driver breaking hours of service rules, dozing off behind the wheel, and causing an accident. Trucking companies should never pressure its drivers to keep driving even when they feel tired. All truck drivers must adhere to the FMCSA hours of service laws, or else face penalties and liabilities for accidents.
Why is This Important?
Drowsy driving is a serious problem in the trucking industry. Long hours on the road, usually alone, and driving at odd hours of the day (such as overnight shifts) increase the risk of a trucker dozing off behind the wheel. Many truck drivers have trouble sleeping during sleeper berth periods, resulting in fatigue that builds day by day. Truck drivers also have high rates of obesity, diabetes, and sleep apnea due to their lifestyles. All of these issues factor into the issue of truck drivers driving drowsy.
It’s incredibly important for truck drivers to follow federal hours of service obligations. Otherwise, they put themselves and everyone else on the road around them at risk. Drowsy driving is a serious act of negligence that is entirely preventable. Talk to a qualified Phoenix truck accident attorney if you believe a truck driver caused your crash while driving tired in Arizona. The odds are high that you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the driver, trucking company, and/or other parties.
Contact Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. for Help with Your Case
FMCSA hours of service regulations could impact your case if you suspect drowsy driving caused or contributed to your accident. A conversation with one of our experienced lawyers can help you identify the probable cause of your crash. Our Phoenix personal injury lawyers can gather black box information from the truck to gauge the driver’s braking habits, speed, and other elements at the time of the crash. It all starts with a phone call to our local Phoenix law office. Call (602) 254-6071 or contact us online today.