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New Hours of Service Regulations Go Into Effect for Truck Drivers

Written by Ankin Law Office

Truck driver fatigue is a leading cause of large trucking accidents. When a trucker is fatigued, slower reaction times, poor judgment, and an impaired ability to process information can result – all of which makes it more likely for trucking accidents to happen. In fact, the National Traffic Safety Board estimates that truck driver fatigue is a factor in 20 to 40 percent of all truck accidents and, in 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimated that 750 trucking accident deaths and more than 20,000 injuries were caused by truck driver fatigue.

As this article reports, hour-of-service violations resulted in the death of an Illinois State Police trooper earlier this year. In an effort to curtail trucker fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently enacted new hours-of-service regulations, some of which took effect on July 1, 2013.

Accordingly, truckers and trucking companies are now required to adhere to the following hour-of-service regulations:

  • Truckers may drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
  • Truckers may not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.
  • Truckers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
  • Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper-berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.
  •  “34-hour restarts” must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., home terminal time, and may only be used once each week, 168 hours, measured from the beginning of the previous restart.
  • Truckers may drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.

These new rules are in addition to the following rules that took effect on February 27, 2012:

  • On-duty time does not include any time resting in a parked vehicle (also applies to passenger- carrying drivers). In a moving property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV), on-duty time does not include up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in sleeper-berth.
  • Driving (or allowing a driver to drive) more than 3 hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an egregious violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties.

Trucking companies and truckers are obligated to obey federal hours-of-service requirement, along with other traffic laws. If they fail to obey hour-of-service regulations, and a trucking accident occurs as a result, they may be held liable for any injuries or damages in a personal injury lawsuit. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, contact the skilled Chicago trucking accident attorneys at Ankin Law Offices at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and remedies following a trucking accident.

Categories: Personal Injury