Hours of Service Violations: The Problem of Tired Truckers
In the trucking industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces regulations by which trucking companies, drivers, and other workers must abide. One set of rules that drivers must follow is referred to as Hours of Service regulations. These regulations control how long drivers can operate their trucks, the amount of time they must take for rest periods, and more. It is important for truck drivers to follow these regulations in order to avoid driving while tired.
According to the FMCSA, Hours of Service regulations apply to commercial motor vehicles fitting any of the following descriptions:
- Exceeds 10,001 pounds
- Has a 10,001-pound or more gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight rating
- Transports 16+ passengers not for compensation
- Transports 9+ passengers for compensations
- Transports hazardous materials in an amount that would require placards
Commercial motor vehicle drivers transporting property cannot drive more than 11 hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours. Drivers carrying passengers cannot drive more than 10 hours after being off duty for 8 consecutive hours. Furthermore, drivers must take a rest break of at least 8 hours or a sleeper berth period for at least 30 minutes before operating their commercial vehicles. Drivers cannot operate their trucks for more than 60 hours in a 7 consecutive day period or 70 hours in an8 consecutive day period. The 7/8 consecutive day period restarts once the driver has taken 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Failure to abide by the FMCSA’s Hours of Service regulations can dramatically increase a driver’s chances of causing an accident due to fatigue. In many cases, these types of crashes are the result of the truck driver violating these regulations because of pressure from the trucking company to meet deadlines. When this happens, both the driver and the owner of the trucking company can be held liable for any damages caused by a fatigued driving crash.
At Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, our Baltimore truck accident lawyers understand the various causes of truck collisions and we want to help victims pursue legal action against the negligent party. We make it a point to put our clients’ needs first, always working to recover the compensation they need. When facing complex legal matters, injury victims need someone who can put together a strong case on their behalf. This is exactly what can be found at our firm.
If you or someone you love was injured by a tired truck driver, call us today to discuss your rights and potential legal options.