Long-haul truck drivers spend a lot of time on the roadways in the country, including those in Missouri. Most truck drivers only make money when they deliver their loads on time, and this can cause some drivers to push themselves beyond reasonable limits. People who do not drive 18-wheelers for a living might not understand how tiring this can be. Being on the road for too long can easily lead to fatigue, which makes it one of the biggest causes of truck accidents.
In order to combat this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has instituted regulations regarding how long a driver carrying goods can be on the road without breaks. A driver who violates these regulations could face serious consequences, the least of which is a suspension of his or her license. For instance, a truck driver is allowed to be on the road no more than 11 hours after taking a 10 consecutive-hour break. However, if it has been more than eight hours since a mandatory break, a driver cannot be on the road until he or she takes another break of at least 30 minutes.
Drivers are also limited to working no more than 60 to 70 hours over the course of a seven to eight day period. After that number of hours is reached, the driver must take at least a 34-hour break before resuming his or her duties. If a truck has a sleeper berth, the driver must use it for at least eight consecutive hours before resuming a trip and must take another two hours off duty apart from the eight-hour requirement.
This is only one of the areas the FMCSA addresses in an attempt to reduce one of the most common causes of truck accidents. When an accident occurs, one of the first issues to be investigated is whether the driver violated these mandatory guidelines, which could help establish negligence in a civil action filed in the aftermath of a crash believed to be caused by a truck driver. Missouri residents who were victims of fatigued truck drivers might receive restitution for their injuries -- or the losses of loved ones -- if it is proved that the truck drivers were fatigued.
Source: fmcsa.dot.gov, "Summary of Hours of Service Regulations", Accessed on May 16, 2016