Truck drivers spend long hours and days on the road and can easily become fatigued while behind the wheel. If a truck driver loses focus or dozes off while driving a large commercial truck, disastrous accidents may occur and cause serious bodily injury to other motorists on the road. In an attempt to reduce accidents and injuries caused by large trucks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict laws regarding the number of hours a commercial truck driver may drive each day and week, as well as mandatory rest periods. These are called hours of service laws. As of July 1, 2013, the FMCSA issued updated regulations related to truck driving hours of service. If a truck driver violates hours of service laws and causes an accident, he should be held accountable for his actions. If you have been injured, contact a Coweta County truck accident attorney as soon as possible to help you recover for your injuries.
The FMCSA originally wanted to make hours of service regulations extremely stricter than they previously were. However, these suggestions drew a lot of negative feedback from the trucking industry. Trucking industry lobbyists and officials stated there was no scientific evidence to suggest these extraordinarily strict laws would actually prevent accidents. Therefore, to avoid too much backlash, the FMCSA compromised and made less stringent changes to hours of service laws.
Some provisions of the newest hours of service law state:
- Truck drivers are required to take at least a 30 minute long break during the first eight hours of driving
- After 70 hours on the road, truck drivers must take a 34 hour long break to “restart” their clocks
- Truck drivers may restart their clocks once in each 168 hour week, which aims to limit the work week to 70 hours
- Restart must include two periods during the night between the hours of 1:00 and 5:00 a.m.
If truck drivers break hours of service laws, they should be held liable for any resulting accidents and injuries. If you have been injured, contact a truck accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770) 487-8999.