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Reviewing federal hours-of-service regulations

Who has not started to feel a little drowsy after several hours behind the wheel? When most drivers start to become fatigued, they can pull off the road and get some rest. Unfortunately, that may not be an option for truckers who are expected to meet delivery deadlines. Yet no one wants the truck drivers traveling in and around Van Nuys to literally be falling asleep at the wheel (indeed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lists fatigue as being one of the 10 most common causes of truck accidents). How, then, are drivers to balance the need to do their jobs while still remaining attentive and alert at all times? 

They are assisted by the federal government, which has created strict hours-of-service guidelines to keep truckers from becoming fatigued. Per the FMCSA, these regulations are: 

  • A truck driver can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off-duty
  • A truck driver cannot drive past the fourteenth hour after having commenced driving following 10 consecutive hours off-duty
  • A truck driver must take a 30-minute break or sleeper berth rest period every eight hours
  • A truck driver's work week cannot exceed 60/70 hours cover 7/8 consecutive days

Regarding a truck driver's work week, such a period only resets after the driver has taken at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. It should also be remembered that these regulations apply only to drivers who transport cargo. The guidelines for those who carry passengers are slightly different. 

Truck drivers are required to keep up-to-date records of their hours worked. Such records can often be used as evidence in trials involving truck accidents where truckers are believed to have violated the federal hours-of-service regulations. 

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