Truck driver hours of service rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) stipulate the maximum driving times for truck drivers before taking a mandatory break. These rules, backed by years of scientific research, aim to combat driver fatigue, a leading cause of accidents in the trucking industry.
A Closer Look at the Hours of Service Rules
The hours of service rules dictate:
- A truck driver must take a mandatory 30-minute break within the first 8 hours of their shift.
- A truck driver can’t drive for more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
- A truck driver can’t continue driving after 14 hours on duty until they have had 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
The Meaning of ‘On Duty’ in Hours of Service Rules
‘On duty’ covers all time from when a truck driver starts to work or needs to be ready to work until someone relieves them. This period includes dispatch waiting time, 18-wheeler inspections or service time, driving time, time spent in the truck (except in the sleeper berth or passenger seat), loading or unloading time, disabled vehicle repair or assistance time, providing breath or urine samples for federally mandated tests, and any work done for the trucking company.
How Trucking Companies Must Enforce Truck Driver Hours of Service Rules
Trucking companies are legally obligated not to permit drivers to violate the hours of service rules. However, pursuing profit can sometimes lead companies to overlook a driver’s physical condition or drive longer than permitted. If this has led to a Louisiana truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
The Importance of Maintaining a Driver’s Log
A driver’s log, accounting for every minute of each 24-hour period, records compliance with the hours of service rules. This log must detail on-duty, off-duty, driving, on-duty but not driving, and time spent in the sleeper berth.
The Risks of Disregarding Truck Driver Hours of Service Rules
Regrettably, many 18-wheeler trucking accidents occur because drivers and companies fail to follow the hours of service rules. These rules aim to prevent accidents leading to serious personal injury or wrongful death.
Protecting Your Legal Rights After an 18-Wheeler Trucking Accident
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an 18-wheeler truck accident, it is vital to understand your legal rights. Speak to an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney to explore your options and protect your interests. Contact Herman Herman Katz today at 844-943-7626 for a free, no-obligation case review.