The Importance of the FMCSA’s Hours of Service Regulations

The Importance of the FMCSA’s Hours of Service Regulations

The purpose of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce commercial motor vehicle accident by enforcing safety protocols and regulating the trucking industry. To protect public safety, the FMCSA frequently collaborates with various advocacy groups, lawmakers, and state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Since its establishment in 2000, the FMCSA has implemented many important procedures that govern how the trucking industry does business. Without these rules, trucking companies may encourage their truckers to practice dangerous driving behaviors just to meet unreasonable and unrealistic deadlines in the name of profit. In 2011, the FMCSA initiated the “Hours of Service Drivers Final Rule” to specifically prohibit fatigued, or drowsy, driving.

When drivers are fatigued, they may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Weaving between lanes
  • Compromised judgement
  • Loss of awareness
  • Slow reflexes
  • Impaired memory
  • Exhaustion
  • Restlessness
  • Missing warning signs or exits
  • Blinking frequently
  • Yawning
  • Mood changes

Collisions involving commercial motor vehicles frequently lead to catastrophic injuries and tragic fatalities. This Hours of Service Drivers Final Rule guarantees that truckers take their necessary breaks and are physically capable of operating an 80,000 lbs. vehicle.

What Are the Hours of Service Regulations?

Truckers need to stay alert and focused while driving, otherwise they may be responsible for a devastating collision that jeopardizes the lives of other motorists and pedestrians. It’s always best to pull over and rest whenever a driver begins noticing the symptoms of fatigue.

The FMCSA established these Hours of Service regulations to ensure that drivers don’t skip breaks, hours of sleep, and even off-duty days:

  • 11-Hour Driving Limit: Truckers can drive 11 consecutive hours if they had a 10-hour off-duty break.
  • 14-Hour Driving Limit: Truckers can drive up to 14 hours so long as they take intermittent food and rest breaks. The overall time spent driving can’t exceed 11 consecutive hours.
  • Rest Breaks: Truckers need to take 30-minute breaks if they plan to drive 8 consecutive hours.
  • 60/70-Hour Driving Limit: Legally, truckers can’t drive over 60/70 hours if they have been on duty for 7/8 consecutive days.

Pursuing Damages Against a Negligent Trucker

If you’ve been injured by the negligent actions of a fatigued trucker, contact the Charleston truck accident attorneys at Pierce, Sloan, Wilson, Kennedy & Early, LLC. During your consultation, our legal team can review your case and help you identify which parties are ultimately responsible for your injuries. It’s important not to accept an initial settlement from an insurance company because multiple entities can be considered liable for a single accident. Our objective is to help you maximize your claim by negotiating with insurance companies, trucking companies, and regulatory agencies on your behalf.  

You don’t have to navigate this complicated legal process alone. Call Pierce, Sloan, Wilson, Kennedy & Early, LLC at (843) 968-0886 to schedule a free consultation.

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