Hours of service regulations and truck accidents
The trucking industry is an important component in our daily lives, as it is how goods are transported within California and among other states. While it is vital to intrastate and interstate commerce, having numerous large trucks on the roadways creates a wide range of risks. Not only are these vehicles massive, they are driver by drivers tasked to travel long distances. This can pose dangers, as truck driver may become fatigued while driving.
To address this concern, federal trucking regulations have been passed. Specifically, regulations concerning overworked and fatigued truck drivers were implemented as a means to reduce and prevent truck accidents caused by this situation. The regulations regarding hours of service addresses not only the number of hours a truck driver can drive in a given period, but also outlines how often and how long break periods need to be.
According to this Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation, there is a 1-hour driving limit. This means that a truck driver is able to drive a maximum of 11 hours following a 10 consecutive hours off duty period. With regards to rest breaks, a truck driver may drive is 8 hours or less have passed since the driver's last off duty or their sleeper berth period that lasted at least 30 minutes.
There are hour limits in a workweek or period for truck drivers. For a seven-day consecutive period, a truck driver must not work more than 60 hours. Their consecutive day period may restart after taking 34 or more consecutive hours of off duty time. For an 8-day consecutive work period, a truck driver may not work more than 70 hours and must also take 34 or more consecutive hours of off duty.
When a truck accident occurs, it is important to understand whether there was a violation of a trucking regulation. If a truck driver was fatigued at the time of the crash and failed to comply with the hours of service regulation, this could help prove fault and negligence in a civil action, such as a personal injury action. A victim in a truck crash could also use this action to recover compensation for their losses and damages suffered.