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When Trucking Companies & Drivers Violate Hours-of-Service Requirements

April 14, 2022 | Category: Truck Accidents | Share

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of truck accidents, with approximately 100,000 accidents caused by drowsy truck drivers. As many as 40,000 truck-accident-related injuries and 1,500 deaths each year occur because trucking companies and drivers violate the hours-of-service requirements.

When trucking companies & drivers violate hours-of-service requirementsTruck drivers are required to log in their driving times and miles using an electronic logging device (ELD). ELDs automatically track data on whether the engine is running, whether the truck is moving, and the miles are driven. Truck drivers may be behind the wheel for up to 11 hours a day.

Even with the 11-hour limitation, the chances of accidents increase, especially if they drive at night. Many truckers are inclined to force themselves to continue driving even longer than 11 hours because of the pressure their companies put on them to meet deadlines. According to statistics, truck drivers, and their trucking companies, may misrepresent their schedules to increase the amount of time behind the wheel.

Extended driving periods can cause fatigue and dull the senses. Night driving can increase the risk of accidents because it interrupts the natural sleep cycle. On September 28, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated its Summary of Hours of Service for truckers in response to the growing concern about drowsy semi-truck drivers and their accidents.

The FMCSA Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service says the following are the limitations: a 14-hour driving window, an 11-hour driving limit, a 30-minute rest break, a 60/70-hour duty limit, and a 34-hour restart.

  • 14-Hour Driving Window - This window is usually thought of as a “daily” limit even though it is not based on a 24-hour period. Drivers are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours.
  • 11-Hour Driving Limit - During the 14-consecutive-hour period explained above, drivers are only allowed to drive for up to 11 total hours.
  • 30-Minute Rest Break - The hours-of-service regulations require that if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty (or sleeper-berth) period of at least half an hour, a driver must take an off-duty break of at least 30 minutes before driving.
  • 60/70 Hour Duty Limit - In addition to the limits that are explained above is the 60/70-hour limit. This limit is based on a 7-day or 8-day period, starting at the time specified by the motor carrier for the start of a 24-hour period.
  • 34-Hour Restart - The hours-of-service regulations allow truckers to “restart” their 60-hour or 70-hour clock calculations by taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty (or in the sleeper berth) or some combination of both.

“Truck accidents can be avoided if trucking companies put safety first, ahead of profits. Each year trucking company negligence harms many drivers on our roadways and changes their lives forever,” said Fort Myers Truck Accident Attorney Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. “Our experienced personal injury legal team has extensive knowledge of the FMCA regulations and works to prove hours-of-service violations that cause accidents involving injuries and tragic deaths. We review trucker logbooks, electronic records, cell phone data, inspection reports, and receipts to establish violations.

We represent people involved in numerous types of personal injury and wrongful death accidents throughout the state of Florida. All our clients have unique personal injury cases. Our firm provides personal contact and communication along with aggressive representation.”

Should you or a loved one be injured in an accident please contact Attorney Randall Spivey at 239.337.7483 or toll-free at 1.888.477.4839 or contact us online at SpiveyLaw.

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