Trucking companies often offer incentives for drivers to get to their destination and deliver their load as quickly as possible. This creates stress on drivers to get to their destination fast so they can unload their cargo, reload the truck, and continue on to another destination. However, with the long hours that most semi-truck drivers spend on the road, there exists a serious possibility of fatigue, which can result in inattentive driving, decreased reaction times, and even dozing off at the wheel.
Federal Regulations Mandate Truck Drivers Get Rest
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency that promulgates rules for truck drivers and trucking companies. The FMCSA has determined that, for longer journeys, drivers of “commercial vehicles” must stop and get rest in order to remain safe and alert. Commercial vehicles are defined as any truck or tractor-trailer that travels between states and:
- Weighs 10,001 pounds or more; or
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more, or
- Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring signage.
There are several strict limits that any driver of a commercial vehicle must abide by, they are:
14-hour driving window: Truck drivers are allowed a 14 hour period in which they can drive up to 11 hours. The remainder of the 14-hour period is designated for rest. The 14-hour period begins as soon as work is begun and resets when the driver has been off the road for 10 hours consecutively.
30-minute break requirement: A truck driver must take one or more 30-minute break in order to break up an 11-hour drive into segments less than 8 hours long.
60/70-hour duty limit: Drivers must follow either a 60-hour limit in seven days or a 70-hour limit in eight days. The seven- or eight-day periods are floating, rather than a fixed “Sunday-Monday” type week, meaning that the oldest day drops off as a new day is added.
34-hour restart rule: In order for the 60/70-hour duty limit to resent, a truck driver must remain off duty for at least 34 hours. Drivers may only use this restart once a week.
Have You Been Injured in a Trucking Accident?
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you know how dangerous semi-trucks can be. Because of these dangers, there are regulations placed on truck drivers to ensure that they get a healthy amount of rest and remain alert and safe drivers. On occasion, however, the pressures of the job persuade a truck driver to ignore these requirements and stay on the road longer than allowed. This is when accidents happen.
The Law Offices of William K. Berenson have over 30 years of experience recovering for Texans injured in truck accidents. The firm’s founder, Bill Berenson, has been Certified as a Specialist in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specializations. If you want to ensure that you are represented by an experienced Fort Worth truck accident attorney, click here to contact the Law Offices of William K. Berenson today.
See More Blog Posts:
Fatalities And Injuries From Tractor Trailer and Truck Crashes Rising, October 9, 2013.
Hire The Best Attorney For Your 18 Wheeler Crash Case, August 27, 2013.