Many truck accidents are caused by truck driver fatigue. There are new federal restrictions on the number of hours a driver can be in service under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which created the hours-of-service rules. Under these new rules, a driver is limited with respect to how long he or she may drive a commercial motor vehicle without a break.
Truck accidents and truck driver fatigue are linked based on many years of study. The Interstate Commerce Commission began limiting hours in which a commercial truck driver could operate a truck beginning in 1937.Recently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has emphasized the need to limit the hours that a truck driver may drive without a break.
The purpose behind the revised regulations deals with the connection between truck driver fatigue and accidents on the highways. It is well known that a driver who has driven for many hours is at greater risk of a crash than one without extended hours on the road.
Although most commercial motor vehicle drivers must follow the hours of the service rules, there are exceptions. One exception is for drivers who operate within a 100-mile radius of their normal work location. Another exception is for those drivers who are short-distant drivers; because of their work, they are not required to hold a commercial driver’s license.
There are additional exceptions for the hours of service rules including emergency conditions and other adverse driving conditions, which both have specific limitations.
If a truck driver is operating a commercial motor vehicle without any of those exceptions, under §395.3 of the regulations, the maximum working hours based on both on-duty time and driving time, there is an 11-hour driving limit and a 14-hour on-duty limit per day. In addition, there is a 60- or 70-hour on-duty limit doe each 7- or 8-day week.
The 11-hour driving limit provides that a driver is not allowed to drive for more than 11 hours at a time after 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time. The rule provides that after a truck driver reaches the 11-hour limit, he or she must be off duty for another 10 consecutive hours before driving again.
The federal regulations require that truck drivers keep a daily log. The log should be a complete recording of what each driver does in a driving day. The driver must send the log to his or her employer within 13 days of completion. The carrier is required to keep the logs for just six months.
The new rules and revised regulations include a slightly altered hours of service for truck drivers. These new rules are designed to reduce truck driver fatigue and to decrease the number of tragic truck accidents on U.S. highways.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling trucking accidents and car accidents for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Bolingbrook, Joliet, Aurora, St. Charles, Franklin Park, Stickney, Cicero, Blue Island, Chicago (Washington Park), Chicago (Hyde Park) and LaGrange Park, Ill.
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