Hours of Operation & Truck Driver Fatigue
If you drive on the road, you know that there are certain laws and rules you must follow. These are put into place in order to keep everyone on the road safe. With commercial truck drivers, they must follow those rules as well, but they are also regulated by another set of rules that determines the weight of the cargo, as well as their hours of operation. These were put into place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to keep truck drivers from operating their vehicles while fatigued. There are a number of things the driver has to abide by and regulators make sure of this by tracking the daily logs.
Our Kansas City truck crash attorneys at Peterson & Associates, P.C.™ recognize the importance of these regulations. If a driver fails to follow regulations and they become fatigued while operating a large tractor trailer, 18-wheeler, or big rig, a serious collision can occur and multiple parties can sustain injuries. Understanding who is responsible is important. You should know which truck drivers must follow the regulations and what the regulations are regarding hours of operation. It can also help you determine liability in a truck crash.
Who Must Abide By Regulations?
The FMCSA outlines the truck drivers who must follow the regulations set forth by the Hours of Service. This is the case for most drivers of commercial motor vehicles. The agency considers a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as one that:
- Weighs 10,001 lbs. or heavier
- Has a gross combination weight rating or gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 lbs. or heavier
- Transports 16 or more passengers including driver and not for compensation
- Transports 9 or more passengers including driver and for compensation
- Transports an amount of hazardous materials that would require a placard
It is important for commercial motor vehicle drivers to know what actions they need to take to ensure they are well rested when operating their trucks. These actions must be accurately recorded in the driver’s log. If something goes wrong and the truck driver crashes, these logs may be used to help determine the cause of the collision, which in turn, can determine liability.
Hours of Service
The Hours of Service regulations differ for property-carrying drivers and passenger-carrying drivers. For property carrying-drivers, the regulations are as follows:
- Drivers can drive 11 hours maximum after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
- Drivers may not drive beyond 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty and being off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
- Drivers may drive if 8 hours or less have passed since off-duty or sleeper berth period of a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Drivers may not drive after 60 – 70 hours on duty in 7 – 8 consecutive days. The 7 – 8 day period will restart after the driver is off duty for 34 or more consecutive hours.
- Drivers must take 8 consecutive hours or more in the sleeper berth when using the sleeper berth provision. They must also have a separate 2 consecutive hours off duty, in the sleeper berth, or a combination of both.
Passenger-carrying drivers have similar regulations they must follow, but their driving limits are changed to 10 hours and 15 hours for the first two regulations. If a driver fails to follow these regulations, they can cause serious injuries in a collision.
If you or someone you love was injured in a crash, call our Kansas City truck accident attorneys at Peterson & Associates, P.C.™ We take the time to examine your case and help you move forward in the most favorable manner possible.