What is The FMCSA Hours of Service Rule?
Commercial vehicles such as large semi-trucks, cargo vans, box trucks, and others used to transport goods must adhere to Hours of Service guidelines regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The hours of service regulations outline how long a driver is permitted to be on duty, including driving time. It also outlines how long and how many rest periods they are mandated to take. However, not all truckers abide by these rules, which can put everyone on the road at risk. Here’s what you need to know.
Top Hours of Service Rule Violations
Since truckers are pressured to make deliveries under strict time constraints, they may ignore rest breaks and driving time regulations to get to their destination by a certain deadline. The following are the most common violations of the FMCSA Hours of Service Rule:
Not Following the 30-Minute Break Requirement.
Every commercial driver is required to take at least a 30 minute (consecutive) break after driving for eight cumulative hours. An on-duty/non-driving period can qualify as a required break.
Not Implementing the Sleeper Berth Provision
Truck drivers may split their required 10 hours off-duty period as long as one off-duty period (whether in or out of the sleeper berth) is at least 2 hours long and the other involves at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. The sleeper berth pairings must equal at least 10 hours.
Not Following the Hours of Driving Limits
Truckers must follow these driving limits:
- Can drive a maximum of 11 hours after having ten consecutive hours off duty.
- Cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty following ten consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14 hour period.
The Dangers of FMCSA Service Rule Violations
The FMCSA has implemented the hours of service rule to keep everyone sharing the road safe from an accident — and truckers are required to keep logs of their driving time. Sadly, violations of the hours of service rules are not uncommon, leaving too many injured motorists from crashes that could have been prevented. In some cases, drivers may be inclined to falsify their driving records to avoid being penalized for violating the FMCSA hours of service rule.
The consequences of violating the above hours of service rules can mean that the truck driver is fatigued. Tired truckers are more at risk of causing a severe accident. According to the FMCA Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 13% of commercial vehicle drivers were considered fatigued at the time of their crash. Contributing factors to fatigued driving are lack of adequate sleep, extended work hours, strenuous work conditions, and taking medications that can cause drowsiness.
Injured in a Truck Crash? Contact Tate Law Group, LLC
Large truck accidents can be particularly devastating when involved with smaller passenger cars. Due to its massive size, the outcome can cause the most catastrophic injuries — and sadly, fatalities are not uncommon. If a negligent commercial driver injured you or someone you love, you have the right to hold them responsible for their careless actions. We’re here to be your advocate and protect your right to receive compensation and support you every step of the way.
To discuss your case with an attorney at Tate Law Group, LLC, call (912) 234-3030 for a free consultation or contact us here.