Hours of service guidelines that prevent trucker fatigue

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2023 | Personal Injury |

Would it surprise you to learn that fatigue or drowsy driving causes approximately 100,000 motor vehicle accidents every year? In these crashes, 71,000 people become injured and 1,550 die.

Trucker fatigue is the result of lack of sleep, strenuous work and work hour extensions, among other things, and this fatigue causes nearly 13% of accidents involving truckers. New hours of service guidelines address the dangers of trucker fatigue.

Guidelines clarified

Today’s commercial truck drivers have to limit their work to 70 hours per week. This is a decrease from 82 hours. In addition, they cannot go back to work unless they receive a 34-hour rest period. This resting period needs to include two full nights.

In addition, truckers cannot drive for longer than 11 hours per day. Their work day can extend up to 14 hours, but three of those hours need to include non-driving tasks, such as maintenance, refueling and loading and unloading cargo.

Truckers also need to take a 30-minute break for every eight hours of driving. This break does not have to occur at the eight-hour mark, but it needs to happen within that eight-hour period.

Penalties for violations

Drivers and their companies can experience penalties, including significant fines when they do not follow these rules. In fact, per violation, both truckers and their companies could face fines of $1,000-$75,000, depending on the materials carried and the extent of the violation. These individuals also cannot change or manipulate the truck’s tracking tech without experiencing additional penalties.

Compliance requirements

Any vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds requires hours of service compliance, including those that transport passengers whether they receive compensation or not. Also, any vehicle carrying hazardous materials should comply.

For the best results, drivers should learn the hours of service rules and proactively comply.