Hours of Service Rules

New Orleans, LA Truck Driver Fatigue Injury Accident Lawyer

The FMCSR sets out the number of hours that a truck driver is allowed to drive before he/she has to take a mandatory break.  These fatigue-fighting rules for truck drivers were carefully crafted based on years of scientific research. Truck Driving at sunset

The hours of service rules include the following:

An 18 wheeler driver must take a mandatory 30 minute break during the first 8 hours of his/her shift.  

A truck driver cannot drive more than 11 hours following 10 consecutive hours off-duty.

An 18 wheeler driver cannot drive after being on duty for 14 hours until he/she has taken 10 consecutive hours off-duty.

For purposes of these rules, on duty means all time from the time the truck driver begins to work or is required to be ready to work until the truck driver is relieved from work.  

On duty includes: (1) all time at a plant, terminal, facility or other property waiting to be dispatched; (2) all time inspecting or servicing an 18 wheeler; (3) all time spent driving the 18 wheeler; (4) all time in or on an 18 wheeler, except in the sleeper berth or passenger seat; (5) all time loading or unloading an 18 wheeler; (6) all time repairing, obtaining assistance or remaining with a disabled 18 wheeler; (7) all time spent providing a breath or urine sample, including travel time to perform a test required by federal regulations; (8) all time performing any work on behalf of the trucking company; and (9) all time performing work for compensation for any person or entity.  

Trucking companies cannot permit an 18 wheeler driver to violate the hours of service rules.  But trucking companies are in business to make money.  Sometimes that means having an 18 wheeler driver drive longer than he/she is allowed to drive or even turning a blind eye to an 18 wheeler driver’s physical condition.

“Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers.” – USDOT FMCSA

Truck drivers have to maintain a driver’s log for each day.  The 18 wheeler driver must account for every minute of each 24-hour period on a duty status grid.  The truck driver has to record time he/she is on duty, off duty, driving, on duty and not driving, and time spent in the sleeper berth.  The 18 wheeler driver has to record the city or town where any change of status occurs, record any stops the driver makes, and record the total number of miles driven on that day and the total number of hours he/she was on duty.  The 18 wheeler driver has to submit those logs to the trucking company.   

Unfortunately, many 18 wheeler trucking accidents occur because truck drivers and trucking companies fail to follow the hours of service rules.  These rules are designed to prevent accidents that lead to serious personal injury or wrongful death.  

If you have been injured in an 18 wheeler trucking accident, learn about your legal rights from an experienced Louisiana 18 wheeler trucking collision lawyer by calling 504-581-4892 or by filling out our free, no obligation case review form.