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Preventing Sleepy Driver Crashes with Hours-of-Service Trucking Regulations

Preventing Sleepy Driver Crashes with Hours-of-Service Trucking Regulations

| Dec 2, 2014

Tired drivers are a serious concern in the trucking industry. This is why hours of service (HOS) regulations were established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to govern the working hours a driver can operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in the United States. These regulations are applicable to truck drivers, bus drivers, and school bus drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles.

The goal of the HOS regulations is to reduce the excessively long hours on the road that increase fatigue-related crashes and long-term health problems for truck drivers. These regulations apply to Mack Trucks, big rigs, and smaller commercial hauling trackers.

The FMCSA has recognized that long daily and weekly hours are not only associated with an increased risk of crashes, but also with chronic health conditions that are associated with continuous lack of sleep. While this rule cannot guarantee that a driver is properly rested, it can ensure that drivers are given adequate time off to obtain proper rest on a daily and weekly basis.

The objective of the hours of service regulations is to reduce acute and chronic fatigue experienced by drivers by putting limits on the maximum number of hours that drivers can work per a day and per week. Under the new rules, drivers' average maximum allowable hours in a week were reduced from 82 hours to 70 hours.

Hours of Service Final Rule

The hours of service of drivers final rule went into effect on February 27, 2012 and the compliance date for the remaining provisions was July 1, 2013. Most drivers must follow the HOS regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle that weighs 10,001 pounds or more. The HOS regulations are as follows:

  • Drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours per a day;
  • Drivers cannot work more than 14 hours per a day;
  • Drivers are limited to a 70-hour work week;
  • Once a driver reaches a 70-hour work week, the driver must rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights of rest; and
  • Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of a shift.

Were you injured in a truck accident?

The HOS regulations were established in response to the widespread problem of fatigued driving. Not only were big rig drivers guilty, but in many instances their employers would push the envelope, insisting that their drivers drive through the night and for hours on end.

While the HOS regulations were designed to combat fatigued driving, they have not entirely prevented abuses from occurring. It is not uncommon for truck drivers to ignore the hours of service regulations, and this is very scary considering the size and weight of the commercial trucks they are driving.

If you were involved in a truck accident with a negligent truck driver, you are urged to contact a South Carolina truck accident attorney from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers for help. We have experience handling truck accident claims, and are not afraid to go head-to-head with a large trucking company and their insurance carrier.

If you have questions about trucking regulations, contact us for a FREE case review.

Categories: Trucking Accident
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