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blog home Truck Accidents Importance of Truck Driver Hours of Service Regulations

Importance of Truck Driver Hours of Service Regulations

By Grant Law Office on July 1, 2011

Long-haul large truck drivers transport various types of cargo over thousands of miles and are expected to do so in a timely manner. Unfortunately, many delivery schedules are unrealistic and tractor trailer drivers try to stay on schedule by driving without the required rest or sleep. Commercial truck drivers may operate this way to reach their destination on schedule, but, driving while fatigued will only increase the possibility that neither driver nor cargo will ever reach the destination.

Sleepiness and fatigue while driving increases the risk of a large truck crash in Georgia, which endangers the lives of every other motorist on the road. Fatigue can cause decreased alertness and poor mental and physical performance which may result in slower reaction times, poorly navigating turns, difficulty staying in one lane, over-steering, and under-steering.

In order to reduce the number of fatigued driving truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented strict Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. Though a proposed change to the HOS regulations was submitted at the end of 2010, the current on-duty and driving limits stand as follows:

  • A truck operator may not drive after having been on duty for 14 consecutive hours. Only after 10 consecutive hours off-duty may a truck operator drive again. Driving is limited to the 14-hour on-duty period even if a driver takes off-duty time during that time.
  • A truck operator may drive a maximum of 11 hours total during the 14-consecutive-hour on-duty period and may not drive again until after 10 consecutive off-duty hours.
  • In addition to the above limits, a truck operator is subject to a “weekly” limit. He or she may not drive after 60 or70 hours on-duty in 7 or 8 consecutive days, respectively. Once the on-duty hours are below the 60 or 70-hour limit for the 7 or 8 consecutive days, driving may begin again. A driver may also “restart” a new 60 or 70 period, however, by taking at least 34 off-duty hours consecutively.

These regulations are in place for a reason, and if a truck driver does not obey these on-duty and driving limits, they risk driving while fatigued, which endangers everyone on the road. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Georgia big rig accident caused by the negligent actions of a fatigued truck driver, the experienced Atlanta large truck accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C., can help you determine whether you have a valid personal injury claim. To learn more about how we can help you get the compensation you deserve, contact our office today for a consultation at 404-995-3955.

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