Past posts on this blog detailed the dangers posed by drowsy truck drivers. Having such awareness may prompt one to be more cautious when encountering large trucks on the road. However, the threat still remains.
Federal lawmakers understand this, and thus mandate that truck drivers follow strict regulations regarding the hours that they can work. Truck drivers must maintain work logs showing that they adhere to these standards and should be able to produce such logs upon demand following a truck accident.
Understanding hours-of-service requirements
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that current hours-of-service regulations require the following:
- Truck drivers do not work more than 60/70 hours over a 7/8-day work week
- Truck drivers do not drive for more than eight consecutive hours without taking a 30-minute break
- Truck drivers do not drive for more than 11 hours during a single work shift
- Truck drivers do not drive beyond the fourteenth consecutive hour after taking 10 consecutive hours off duty
These are the specific requirements for drivers who transport freight; similar guidelines exist for those transporting passengers.
Exceptions to federal regulations
There are certain exceptions to these guidelines that allow drivers to work longer hours and/or to not have to maintain work logs. For example, the FMCSA states that a non-CDL driver can extend their working period from 14 to 16 hours as long as they return to their point of origin within the same day. All drivers are also not required to maintain work logs if they return to their point of origin within 12 hours of departing. Also, all federal hours-of-service regulations only apply to vehicles whose gross vehicular weight exceeds 10,001 pounds.