Hours of Service Requirements Help Keep Drivers Safe

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), large commercial trucks were involved in nearly 55,000 accidents in 2009, the last year for which statistics are available. Of those 55,000 accidents, nearly 3,000 were deadly.

Although precise statistics are not available, it is clear that one major cause of truck accidents is trucker fatigue. For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted Hours-of-Service regulations governing when and for how long the drivers of commercial motor vehicles may drive.

The Regulations

The regulations impose some basic requirements on the drivers of large, property-carrying commercial motor vehicles:

  • Drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty
  • Drivers may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • A driver using a sleeping berth in his truck must take at least eight hours in his sleeping berth plus two consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, off duty or both

The FMCSA regulations are based on exhaustive scientific studies and are formulated to assure that drivers are alert and well rested when they are behind the wheel.

Not Everyone Follows the Rules

Unfortunately, not all truckers follow the rules set out in the Hours-of-Service regulations. Truck drivers and trucking companies often face strict delivery deadlines, which means that drivers are sometimes unwilling to rest, despite many hours behind the wheel.

An Attorney Can Help

If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable about truck accidents can assess your case and help you get the compensation you deserve. For more information, contact an attorney today.