Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law

How do federal regulations address truck driver fatigue?

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Many Virginia residents may know that truck drivers often work long hours. To make their deliveries and to get home to their families, truck drivers may try to drive for long periods of time at a stretch. Unfortunately, driving without proper rest can be extremely dangerous and may contribute to truck accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recognizes the importance of preventing truck driver fatigue, and the associated accidents, and imposes limits on truck drivers regarding how long they may drive without breaks.

Typically, drivers driving a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle may not drive without at least having ten consecutive hours off duty. These drivers may then drive a total of 11 hours during a 14 hour consecutive period, but no longer without then taking 10 consecutive hours off duty. Additionally, there are specific rest break requirements with which a truck driver must comply. Drivers of passenger-carrying motor vehicles must meet different requirements. They may not drive for more than 10 hours after a period of eight consecutive hours off duty.

Truck drivers must record specific details regarding their driving time and rest breaks over periods of 24 hours. These trucking logs are regulated and may become essential evidence in the event of an accident.

It is important to note that are exceptions to these regulations depending on the length of trip and other factors. A short-haul driver, or a driver who is not required to have a commercial driver's license, may not have to follow the same driving and rest requirements. If a person has been involved in truck accident, he or she may wish to consult with an attorney familiar with 18-wheeler accidents who can offer guidance regarding whether a truck driver was in compliance with federal trucking regulations.


Source: fmcsa.dot.gov, "Part 395: Hours of Service of Drivers," accessed Dec. 18, 2015

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