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Reviewing hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2021 | Truck Accidents |

Thanks to an increased emphasis on educating people on the dangers of drowsy driving, many in Oregon understand that fatigued drivers may pose as much of a threat as those who drive while drunk or distracted. Most assume that one unable to get a good night of sleep will avoid driving until they feel more rested. Yet what about those whose professions mandate they stay on the road?

Professional drivers (such as those who drive semi-trucks or commercial vehicles) may feel pressured to drive even when they feel fatigued. The threat of one encountering a drowsy truck driver on the road is ever-present; indeed, the Insurance Information Institute reports that authorities list fatigue as a significant factor in many commercial trucking accidents. Lawmakers take this threat very seriously, even going so far as to create legislation to mitigate it.

When (and for how long) can truck drivers work?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial truck drivers must adhere to the following hours-of-service regulations:

  • Not driving for more than eight hours without taking a 30-minute break
  • Not driving for more than 11 hours without taking 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • Not driving beyond the fourteenth hour after having come on after 10 hours off duty
  • Not driving more than 60-70 hours during a 7-8 day workweek

For the purposes of this statute, a period of 34 consecutive hours off duty resets a workweek.

How can one know if a trucker violated hours-of-service regulations?

Some might think it impossible to know if fatigue played a role in a truck accident (thinking a drowsy truck driver will deny experiencing it). Yet truck drivers must maintain work logs detailing the hours they spend behind the wheel. Such records should show whether a driver complied with federal regulations.