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Hours Of Service Rules Help Prevent Truck Accidents

Large commercial trucks are an essential part of our economy because they provide an efficient means of moving goods throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, the increasing amount of large truck traffic in recent years has negatively impacted highway safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,675 people were killed and an additional 80,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents involving large commercial trucks in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available. The number of truck accidents in 2010 increased nine percent over the previous year.

Although a variety of factors can lead to a serious truck accident, one common problem is truck driver fatigue. Truckers are often under great pressure from trucking companies and clients to deliver their goods according to strict schedules, no matter what the road or weather conditions may be. This pressure can cause truck drivers to push their physical limits past the point of safety.

For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established hours of service rules to regulate the amount of time truck drivers may remain on duty without rest. Specifically, the rules require:

  • Drivers may drive for a maximum of 11 hours at a time after 10 hours off duty
  • Drivers may not drive past the 14th consecutive hour on duty after 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • Drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty for seven/eight consecutive days
  • When using a sleeper berth, drivers must remain in their berth for at least eight consecutive hours, plus an additional two hours in berth, off duty or a combination of the two.

Drivers must keep detailed logs of their on-duty and off-duty time, as well as the distances they travel. Both drivers and trucking companies face serious penalties if they fail to keep accurate logs.

Although most drivers and trucking companies do their best to comply with these rules, there are those who are willing to sacrifice safety in the name of meeting a deadline.

Contact A Personal Injury Attorney

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury in a motor vehicle accident with a large commercial truck, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can assess your case and help you get the fair and adequate compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering you deserve. For more information about what a personal injury attorney can do for you, contact a lawyer today.