As a driver, you understand the importance of being fully alert while behind the wheel. This includes putting distractions aside, not driving while drunk and staying off the road while drowsy.
You would expect those who drive professionally to make the same choices — especially drivers of large commercial trucks. But, unfortunately, since drivers take on long hours and overnight shifts, fatigue is a factor in many accidents involving truck drivers.
To combat fatigue, there are federal regulations that limit the amount of hours truck drivers can work and how often they need to take breaks. Below are four specific rules designed to protect truck drivers and the motorists they pass on their routes.
- 14-hour driving window: If a driver were to start their schedule fresh, after 10 hours off duty, they have 14 hours to complete a maximum of a 11 hours of driving. Even if a driver takes a break in the middle of their route, they must complete their shift within 14-hour period.
- 11-hour driving limit: Eleven hours is the maximum number of hours a driver can work after 10 hours off duty.
- 60/70-hour duty limit: Drivers who complete seven-day work weeks can’t drive more than 60 hours, and drivers who complete eight-day work weeks can’t drive more than 70 hours. And before restarting the work week, drivers must remain off duty for 34 consecutive hours.
- 30-minute break: When drivers take on a shift that is over eight hours long, they must take a 30-minute break.
Even with these limits, it’s possible that drivers have trouble adjusting to overnight shifts or don’t fully rest up during their time off the clock. When an accident, injury or tragedy occurs because of a fatigued driver, a personal injury attorney can help you or your family seek justice.