Trucking regulations attempt to limit hours behind the wheel for interstate truckers, who drive commercial rigs from one end of the country to the other. Making sure they don't become too exhausted helps prevent disastrous truck accidents on interstate highways.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration calls for a limit of 14 hours of consecutive duty, after which the trucker must take 10 hours off.
During the 14 consecutive hours, the trucker is actually only allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours in a row. Once these 11 hours have elapsed, the driver can't drive again until he or she has taken 10 consecutive hours off.
Additionally, there is what's called the 60- or 70-hour limit. This is where it gets a bit more complex. If the driver’s company doesn't operate vehicles every day of the week, then a driver can't be on duty more than 60 hours during any consecutive seven days. If it’s a seven-day-a-week operation, then the company may ask its employee to be on duty 70 hours in any eight consecutive days.
If you’re a driver, your 70- or 60-hour calculation can “restart” after 34 consecutive hours off-duty.
The rules are made even more complex by the definition of “duty” time, which is not limited to driving hours. On-duty time can also include:
- all time at a plant or terminal
- all time spent inspecting or servicing the truck
- all other time in the truck, unless the driver is resting in a berth
- all time loading, unloading, or taking care of paperwork.
As you can see, the rules are complicated. If you've been in an accident with a truck and are concerned about whether the trucker's exhaustion after extended time behind the wheel may have caused the crash, our office can help.
Call us today at 816-842-7100 to speak with an attorney that will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Or you can click here to email us and schedule your free consultation.