What Are Hours of Service Regulations for Truckers?
If you’ve ever spent much time around the trucking industry or engaged in the ever-present drowsy truck driver conversation, you’ve likely heard about hours of service regulations. These regulations, which are generally effective, exist to limit the amount of time truck drivers are allowed to spend on the road, in an effort to ensure that they get enough sleep and can better avoid the risks of drowsy driving.
Hours of Service Regulations
Let’s first look at federal trucker hours of service regulations in order to better understand the limitations placed on truck drivers:
- Truckers may only drive for 11 hours in a day, and only following 10 consecutive hours off duty. As a hard cap, truckers may therefore only drive while being on duty for up to 14 hours; after 14 hours clocked in, they’re done.
- The above limits (10 and 14 hours in a day) can be extended by a maximum of 2 hours, but only when “adverse” driving conditions are encountered, slowing a truck’s route considerably.
- Truckers must take a 30-minute break after every 8 hours of driving.
- Within a 7 day period, truckers can’t drive for more than 60 hours total. Within an 8 day period, truckers can only drive for 70 hours total. These periods “reset” after 34 consecutive hours off duty.
There are several other regulations besides these, but they usually won’t affect a layman motorist. Talking to a truck accident attorney in Arizona is the best way to learn more about trucking regulations and how they may affect a collision case.
How to Recognize a Drowsy Truck Driver
Despite such extensive, clear-cut limitations on truck driver scheduling, the enforcement of these regulations can be lacking, resulting in many truckers who can and do violate hours of service limitations for one reason or another. As such, it’s important that you stay wary around larger vehicles, and watch them for telltale signs of drowsiness:
- Drifting within a lane or between multiple lanes, often punctuated by jerking corrections.
- Long periods of slow acceleration/ deceleration interrupted by sudden speed corrections.
- Not using turn signals correctly, at all, or leaving them on well after they’re no longer needed.
- Missing traffic signage and lights, or reacting to them at the last possible moment with sudden movements.
Arizona Truck Accidents Caused by Hours of Service Violations
When a trucker violates their hours of service, gets drowsy as a result, and causes an accident, they could be personally responsible for the collision, as could the company that employed them. Many trucking companies have been known to encourage their drivers to take on illegal “overtime,” maxing out their hours and then continuing to drive in flagrant violation of regulations; similarly, truck drivers themselves oftentimes choose to do so in order to secure more pay.
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, we at ELG strongly recommend talking to a Phoenix truck accident attorney to learn more about your options. Collisions can be overwhelming events in one’s life, accompanied by extensive financial burdens, personal worries, pain, and undue suffering, all of which you deserve extensive compensation for. We can help alleviate your burden, shouldering the challenges of a case on your behalf, so give us a call at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.