How Long Are Truckers Legally Allowed to Drive For?
Truck drivers keep our nation running—they transport goods over long distances every day so we can have the things we want and need. They have strict schedules so they can cover long distances as quickly as possible and deliver their truck-load on time. The problem with their schedules, though, is they were sometimes so strict that drivers were pulling long hours on the roads without a break.
When truck drivers are on the road for too long, they can become drowsy and distracted, and cause dangerous, and sometimes fatal, accidents. In 2018 alone, over 4,000 people were killed in large truck accidents. Because of the severity of damage that truck accidents can cause, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created federal guidelines for all truck drivers so they are not over-worked, driving drowsy, and colliding into other trucks and vehicles.
Being injured in a truck accident can be devastating and filing a claim against a trucking company and their insurers can be intimidating. Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law can help you recover financially from your semi-truck wreck. Let’s look at the laws that are in place to limit the number of hours that truckers can drive in a day to help reduce the amount of tractor-trailer accidents.
Hours-of-Service Regulations for Commercial Truck Drivers
Although driving regulations for truck drivers can be a controversial subject, the rules are in place for a reason—safety. According to a guide created by the FMCSA, commercial truck drivers must follow the hours-of-service regulations. Within these parameters, truckers are allowed to drive 11 hours in a 14-hour window, and then must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours. Of those 11 driving hours, they cannot all be consecutive. After 8 hours of driving, a trucker must take a 30 minute break before driving the final 3 hours of the 11 total. Even if a trucker takes a longer lunch break or a nap, they still must take a 10 hour break after their 14 hour driving window.
These regulations may be confusing, so let’s look at an example. Say a trucker began driving at 8 a.m. According to the regulations, that trucker cannot drive after 10 p.m. because that would be the cap of the 14-hour limit. Once 10 p.m. comes, the trucker must take 10 consecutive hours off from driving a commercial truck, although they can do other work.
There are also 60/70-hour limits over a period of days that make things even more complicated. A driver can only drive for 60 hours over a 7 day period or 70 hours over an 8 day period. Though these periods are the length of a week, they are not set as Sunday through Saturday or Sunday through Sunday. The limit is considered to be on a floating period, meaning that it can start any day of the week, as long as hours are tracked for the following 7 or 8 days.
If at any point a trucker wants to restart their 7 or 8 day limit, they must take at least 34 consecutive hours off duty. After that break, their weekly hours go back to 0, and they may begin a fresh log for the next 7 or 8 days.
There is an exception if a driver is slowed down by unexpected adverse driving conditions. For example, if a trucker is slowed down by a blizzard, they have up to 2 extra hours to complete what they could have done in normal conditions. So instead of the limit of consecutive hours being 11, it would instead become 13 hours.
Hire a Biloxi Truck Accident Lawyer
All of these regulations for truckers can be confusing, and even veteran commercial truck drivers can miscalculate their driving times. Unfortunately, these mishaps are one of the reasons that large truck accidents happen. When they do, the injuries and damages done to other trucks and vehicles can be severe. If you’re involved in a collision with a semi-truck in Mississippi, you’ll want Biloxi truck accident lawyer Corban Gunn on your side.
Going up against a trucking company or their insurers can seem impossible on your own. With the help of Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law, you can hold the trucking company responsible for their driver’s negligent or reckless actions that caused your injuries. We’ll ensure that you don’t settle for less than you deserve and are prepared to fight for fair compensation in trial. Reach out to our office today so we can begin discussing your potential claim.