Truckers spend a lot of time on the roads, but this doesn’t mean that they’re immune to fatigue. In an effort to minimize the chance of one of these professional drivers suffering from this problem, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set limits for how long they can drive. These rules are set for interstate hauls, and they must be complied with unless there is a temporary relaxation of the regulations due to a declared disaster.
The hours of service regulations are divided into two primary categories. One of is for those who transport goods and the other is for those who carry passengers.
Truckers who are hauling goods can drive up to 11 hours per shift. They can’t drive past the 14th hour of being on duty if they have duties to do besides driving. The 11-hour limit for being behind the wheel still applies. These individuals must take a consecutive 10-hour break between shifts.
Drivers who are operating vehicles that carry people have a limit of 10 hours driving with a break of at least eight hours. If they have duties besides driving, they must not drive beyond the 15th hour of being in service.
While these regulations provide very specific limits, truckers should also be able to stop when they start to show signs of fatigue. Unfortunately, many drivers aren’t empowered in this manner and are forced to push through drowsiness, which can cause crashes. If a person is injured in a crash with a fatigued trucker, determining who’s liable for the damages can help them to name the appropriate parties in a claim for compensation.