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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

Understanding the New Hours of Service Regulations for Truckers

by Jared Staver in Personal Injury, Truck Accidents

Since truck drivers sit behind the wheel for long periods of time, trucker fatigue is a serious problem. It can lead to catastrophic accidents, life-threatening injuries and even death. That’s where hours of service regulations come in.

Hours of service regulations are designed to prevent severe truck accidents caused by driver fatigue. Recently, modifications have been made to these rules. Below, we’ll discuss them in greater detail.

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident that was not your fault, don’t hesitate to consult our experienced truck accident lawyers at SStaver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. We can perform a thorough investigation of your case and assist you in securing the fair and full compensation you may deserve. Call us at (312) 236-2900 today or use our online contact form.

What are Hours of Service Regulations?

The U.S. Department of Transportation has set forth hours of service regulations to reduce the risk of accidents resulting from trucker fatigue. These rules outline how many hours per day and week truckers are allowed to spend behind the wheel. In addition, they indicate how much time they must spend taking breaks between shifts.

All commercial drivers are legally obligated to adhere to the hours of service regulations to ensure they remain awake and alert while they’re driving. In the past, the rules have stated the following:

  • Truck drivers must maintain a Driver’s Records of Duty (RODs) when they exceed 12 hours of duty beyond a 100-mile radius of their “home base.”
  • Truckers cannot drive for more than 14 hours after starting their work. Once the 14th hour has passed, they must take 10 consecutive hours off.
  • Truck drivers are only permitted to drive for 11 consecutive hours during a 14-hour period. They are required to rest for 10 consecutive hours before they can return to driving.
  • Truckers are not allowed to drive after being on duty for 60/70 hours in 7-8 consecutive days. 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty must be taken before they start another 7-8 consecutive day shift.
  • Truck drivers must take a minimum 30 minute break after eight hours of driving.

How the Hours of Services Regulations Are Being Changed?

Modifications to the hours of service regulations have been made to offer greater flexibility to truck drivers while continuing to maintain the highest level of safety for them and other motorists. Changes include:

  • Altering the 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 on-duty hours to 14 on-duty hours.
  • Extending the 14-hour limitation by two hours when truckers face difficult driving conditions.
  • Changing the break that truck drivers must take after eight hours of constant driving.
  • Reinforcing the idea that truckers who are operating trucks with sleeper berth compartments can split up the 10-hour off duty rest break.

Other Causes of Truck Accidents

While fatigue is a common cause of truck accidents, these crashes may also be the result of:

  • Distracted driving: Just like other motorists, truckers often engage in eating, texting, and other activities that divert their attention from the road.
  • Intoxicated driving: Sometimes, drivers attempt to “relax” from their long shifts with alcohol and drugs and drive intoxicated as a result.
  • Reckless driving: Speeding, running red lights, and abruptly changing lanes are all examples of reckless driving widely seen by truckers.

Injured in a Truck Accident? Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.

The reality is that hours of service regulations are never set in stone and constantly changing. Our truck accident lawyers make it a priority to keep up with these rules so that we can determine whether a truck accident was caused because they weren’t followed. If you’ve sustained an injury in a truck accident, contact us today at (312) 236-2900 or use our online contact form.