Semi-trucks, commercial trucks, and other trucks dot the roadways and highways to deliver the products we consume and get people where they need to be. While they provide a needed service, they can also cause accidents. Because of the trucks’ size and speed, the accidents they cause can be catastrophic. The drivers of large trucks need to understand how these large vehicles move and operate on the road. It is also essential for all drivers to use caution when moving around them. Small errors, such as failing to signal, can lead to big problems. That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the United States Department of Transportation, regulates the number of hours a truck driver may drive in a certain period of time.
These rules are put in place to ensure all drivers’ safety on the road and to make sure truck drivers are well rested when traveling the nation’s roadways. These rules can be somewhat complicated and confusing.
According to a publication released by the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, hours of service regulations apply to those who drive a commercial motor vehicle, and such drivers must follow at least three maximum duty limits all times: the 14-hour driving window; 11-hour driving limit; and 60-hour/7-day and 70-hour/8-day duty limits.
The 14-hour driving window provides a “daily limit” in which the driver is allowed “a period of 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for ten or more consecutive hours.”
The 11-hour driving limit provides that a driver may drive up to 11 hours during the 14-hour driving window. However, this rule does not apply if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.
The 60/70-hour/7-8 day duty limit is often considered a “weekly” limit, but that is not entirely accurate because the limit is based on a “rolling” or “floating” 7- or 8- day period of time.
If a driver violates these regulations, several things can happen. For instance, the driver may be shut down on the road until they have enough hours of off-duty time to get back to work. In some cases, the driver may be assessed a fine. The carrier may face a civil penalty, and their safety rating may be affected.
If you are injured by the driver of a commercial truck who failed to comply with these regulations, that could be some evidence of negligence that can strengthen your case. The attorneys at William Mattar law offices have experience conducting discovery to see if a commercial vehicle driver failed to comply with these regulations. If you were injured and are seeking a truck accident attorney, call our offices for a free and confidential consultation.