Truck drivers have a maximum number of hours they can remain on the road before taking a break in order to avoid driver fatigue or drowsiness. These hours of service regulations are in place to protect truck drivers and others on the road. Unfortunately, if these rules are violated and a collision does occur, you may be able to hold the driver or his or her employer liable for your injuries.
The Harrisburg truck accident lawyer at Schmidt Kramer have in-depth knowledge and experience of these federal regulations. If you suffered harm due to a truck-related accident, we can review your case and discuss how these regulations can directly impact your claim during a risk-free consultation.
Hours of Service Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the hours of service regulations to limit the amount of time commercial truck drivers can operate a vehicle during a single shift.
The goal of these regulations is to keep fatigued truck drivers off of highways and interstates. When a truck driver becomes tired, he or she is more dangerous, especially when driving larger vehicles. Commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers can cause devastating damage due to their massive size and weight.
Maximum Hours of Service
There are three-hour rules that truck drivers must adhere to when driving a commercial vehicle. These exist in the following restrictions:
- 11-Hour Driving Limit: A truck driver can only drive up to 11 hours after having 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- 14-Hour Limit: After 14 hours on duty, a truck driver must have 10 consecutive hours of off duty time.
- 60 or 70-Hour Limit Truck drivers are prohibited from working more than 60 hours in a consecutive seven-day period or more than 70 hours in a consecutive eight-day period.
Commercial truck drivers are also required to take at least a 30-minute break after driving for right consecutive hours. For instance, you must take a 30-minute rest period after going for eight consecutive hours before completing the last three hours of your shift under the 11-hour driving limit.
Who Must Comply with Hours of Service?
On duty truck drivers must comply with the hours of service regulations along with those qualifying commercial vehicles. A driver carrying toxic or hazardous materials and a truck with a trailer near or over 10,000 pounds must adhere to these rules.
Compliance also affects the weight rating and if the trucker travels along commercial roads. Depending on the inter- or intrastate driving, conditions and what the trucker carries, he or she may have different hour compliance with the hours of service regulations.
This can seriously impact the need to follow the standard guidelines and any claim if an accident does occur. It is important to know where and how the truck driver will proceed with a specific job because it can change these rules or add exceptions that provide different specifics such as the lack of need for a field log book.
Exceptions to Hours of Service Requirements
Exceptions to the hours of service rules include the following:
- Adverse driving conditions such as weather permit an additional two hours
- Certain states have special driving times through state-regulated rules
- Specific materials can extend travel time such as construction resources
- Non-commercial or federal truck drivers may have different driving hours
- Short hauls extend the window to sixteen hours once in a seven-day window
Discuss Your Case with a Harrisburg Attorney Today
If you or your loved one was injured in a truck accident, our personal injury attorneys in Harrisburg are here for you. At Schmidt Kramer, we can handle every aspect of your truck accident claim, and we will help you recover and return to normal daily living. We have extensive experience handling these cases and will walk you through and support you with the litigation process.
Contact us for a free case evaluation that will remain confidential. We understand how difficult the claim process is and we are here to assist you the entire way. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you owe us nothing for our services unless we resolve your claim through a settlement or award.
Start your truck accident claim today by calling (717) 888-8888.