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Regulations aim to prevent truck driver fatigue

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2023 | Firm News |

Our roadways remain the primary mode of transport of goods from one place to another. Truck drivers are in demand and they sometimes work long hours, which can result in driver fatigue.

Time limitations truckers must follow

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates hours of service, or the amount of time a driver may remain on the roadway before resting. The goal of these regulations is to prevent driver fatigue to minimize driver errors and collisions. These rules also discourage companies from rewarding faster delivery times with extra pay to incentivize truckers to take risks, push themselves and drive longer hours.

  • Drivers starting a route must stop after 14 consecutive hours on duty (including any breaks), and the driver must follow that shift with at least 10 hours off.
  • Drivers must take a 30-minute break after eight cumulative hours.
  • Drivers can work up to 11 hours after taking ten consecutive hours off.
  • Drivers may not work more than 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. They may start a consecutive day’s stretch after 34 hours or more off duty.

Drivers are required to keep an accurate logbook detailing hours worked and breaks, which may provide important evidence in crash investigations.

What problems can arise when a driver is fatigued?

An exhausted driver may be just as dangerous as an intoxicated one. When the brain lacks the proper rest, it cannot recharge itself or the body’s systems. Over time, especially for drivers, this may mean a lack of focus and impaired decision-making abilities.  At some point, the brain will force itself asleep, and the driver may fall asleep while driving, which can lead to devastating consequences.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck crash, you may wish to consult with a qualified attorney to find out whether driver fatigue was to blame.