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Looking at the federal “hours of service” rules

On behalf of Noland Law Firm, LLC posted in truck accidents on Friday, December 18, 2015.

Trucking safety is an important issue when it comes to highway safety. It isn’t just because commercial trucks are some of the largest vehicles on the road, that they have more blind spots and can cause more serious accidents when a crash occurs. It’s also because truck drivers work long hours, sometimes far from home, and are therefore at greater risk of fatigued driving.

Fatigued driving among truckers is a well known problem, and one which federal regulators have sought to address in the so-called hours of service rules. These rules apply to all commercial motor vehicles which meet certain weight, passenger transport, and hazardous material metrics. 

The rules differ slightly between property-carrying drivers and passenger-carrying drivers, though not by much. Property-carrying drivers are permitted to drive a maximum of 11 hours per day after 10 consecutive hours off duty, while the limit for passenger-carrying drivers is 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours on duty. Property-carrying drivers are also prohibited from driving after their 14th consecutive hour on duty after, while the rule for passenger-carrying drivers is nor driving after 15 hours on duty following 8 consecutive hours off duty.

Both types of drivers are prohibited from driving after 60/70 hours on duty over 7/8 consecutive days. Property-carrying drivers are able to restart their work week by taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. Property-carrying drivers are also prohibited from driving if more than eight hours have passed since their last 30-minute (or more) break. There are also rules for both types of drivers pertaining to the use of sleeper berths.

In our next post, we’ll look at a recent change to hours-of-service rules that could help ensure better compliance from truckers and their employers

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