How Do Federal Truck Regulations Prevent Commercial Truck Accidents?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drowsy driving is a growing problem in the United States. Drowsy driving makes it more difficult to pay attention to the road; reduces the reaction time to break or swear suddenly; and, affects the driver's ability to make good decisions. Drowsy driving can be particularly dangerous for commercial truck drivers. In fatal crashes involving large trucks, 71% of the fatalities during 2013 were occupants in other vehicles. Some of the rules and regulations governing the trucking industry can help reduce the risk of truck accidents by specifically targeting the dangers of drowsy driving.

FAQs About Trucking Safety Rules

Hours-on-duty rules are designed to protect everyone on the road by limiting the number of hours a truck driver can work without rest or sleep. This decreases the risk that a truck driver is driving while drowsy or fatigued.

  • 11 hours is the maximum number of hours a truck driver can drive during the course of a day. A day is defined as a 24-hour period.
  • During a 24-hour period, a truck driver must have at least 10 consecutive off-duty hours. A driver is not permitted to be on-duty (driving or otherwise) more than 14 hours per day.
  • During off-duty hours, the truck driver is not permitted to spend those hours in the truck unless the driver is in a sleeper birth. If the driver spends eight consecutive hours in the sleeper birth, the driver can spend the other two hours in the truck provided the driver is off-duty.
  • A 30-minute rest break is required after driving eight consecutive hours.
  • A truck driver is limited to driving 60 hours during a seven-day period and 70 hours during an eight-day period. Once the driver reaches the maximum driving hours during a seven or eight-day period, the driver must be off-duty for at least 34 consecutive hours.
  • If a driver is transporting passengers, the limit on the number of driving hours is stricter. The driver is permitted to drive 10 hours per day only after eight consecutive off-duty hours.
  • Truck drivers must keep a log of their duty status in 24-hour intervals pursuant to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). Logbooks can become critical evidence in a truck accident case. Your attorney will subpoena the duty records for the truck driver to determine if the driver violated any of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations. If so, this will be used to help prove the truck driver was negligent in causing your accident.

Get Help from an Experienced Harrisburg Truck Accident Attorney

The law firm of Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC represents personal injury clients on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay attorney's fees until and unless we negotiate a settlement or win an award for you. Because trucking accidents usually involve very serious injuries, and because commercial truck accidents are increasingly complicated, it is imperative you get legal advice from a PA truck accident lawyer right away.

Contact our office now to schedule your a free consultation. We want to seek justice on your behalf from the at-fault driver who caused your injuries.


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