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Trucker hours-of-service regulations explained

Truck drivers are not the only ones at risk in accidents involving semi-trucks and tractor trailers in San Antonio. Due to the massive size of these vehicles, the drivers of the smaller vehicles they collide with often face greater danger. Indeed, information shared by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that, of the 3,986 people killed in large truck accidents in 2016, 66 percent were occupants of passenger vehicles. Truckers may not always appreciate just how much their actions can put others at risk. This may allow them to do things that, while seemingly benign in others lines of work, can actually cause great danger. 

One of these is working extended hours. While it may be hard to fault someone for wanting to work hard, when that person's work involves driving a massive commercial vehicle, the risk that fatigue can create is just to great. Thus, federal regulations have been established to help prevent truck drivers from working extended hours. A trucker found to be in violation of these could face criminal penalties on top of legal liability were he or she to cause an accident. 

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers transporting property are prohibited from: 

  • Driving more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • Driving beyond a 14th consecutive hour after 10 hours off duty
  • Driving at all unless eight hours since last taking a sleeper berth or off-duty period of at least 30 minutes 
  • Driving more than 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days

A driver must take an off-duty period of at least 34 consecutive hours before beginning a new work week. In addition, those operating under a sleeper berth provision must rest for a period of eight consecutive hours during a route on top of also taking two consecutive hours off duty during the same trip. 

 

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