Are there Regulations for Hours Truckers Drive?

truck accidentsThe U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the amount of hours truck drivers spend on the road per day and per week. These regulations are created not only for the safety of the driver, but for others on the road as well. Due to the widespread problem of driver fatigue, the FMCSA updated their regulations in recent years, hoping to dissuade the industry from pressuring drivers to work unreasonably long shifts with hefty penalties.

Some of the updated hours of service rules include:

  • Previously, truck drivers were allowed to drive a maximum of 82 hours. That was reduced to 70 hours.
  • Truck drivers who reach the maximum of 70 hours can resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, which is also known as a “restart”.
  • Truck drivers must take a 30 minute break during the first eight hours of their shift.

Additionally, the 11-hour daily limit and 14-hour work day rule was retained.

The FMCSA takes violations against these rules very seriously, considering the dangers a fatigued truck driver presents to other drivers on the road. Penalties for violating any hours of service rules are as follows:

  • Fines ranging from $1,000 to $11,000 per violation, depending on the severity. The fine may be levied on the driver, the carrier, or both.
  • The driver may be placed on shut down until he or she has accumulated enough off-duty time to be back in compliance.
  • Carrier’s safety rating may be downgrade if there is a pattern of violations.

At Haines Law, P.C., our Houston truck accident attorneys have represented a number of clients injured in these devastating wrecks and know how to pursue the financial restitution they are entitled to. Our firm works with highly experienced accident investigators and accident reconstruction specialists.

Call us today for a free consultation at (281) 975-0031.

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