Hours of service regulations goal is to prevent truck accidents

Semitrailers and other commercial vehicles are a familiar sight on many Kentucky roadways. Sadly, truck accidents involving these vehicles are common. While there are numerous things that can contribute to semitrailer accidents, driver fatigue is a significant issue in many cases.

In order to help prevent truck accidents related to driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has certain regulations in place that limit the number of hours of service. Truck drivers are only to be on the road for certain lengths of time, and regulations require them to take breaks so that they are ready to safely operate their vehicles.

What do the HOS regulations say?

According to the FMCSA, the drivers of commercial vehicles that haul property have either an 11 or 14-hour driving limit. This means that they can drive no more than 11 or 14 consecutive hours at a time after, and only after, they have had a total of 10 consecutive hours off.

If a driver utilizes rest breaks, those breaks must be at least 30 minutes in length. Rest break rules do not apply to short-haul drivers.

There is also something known as the 60/70-hour limit. This means that truck drivers may not operate their vehicles more than 60 to 70 hours in a seven- to eight-day period. After seven to eight days of consecutive driving, trucker drivers are required to take a 34-hour break before they can take part in another seven to eight-day driving period.

Finally, truck drivers who use sleeper berths must take an eight-hour break in the sleeper berth. To reach their 10-hour break requirement, they may spend the final two hours of the break in the sleeper berth or in some other manner as long as they are off duty.

Why should this matter to me?

Why does all of this information matter? If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in an accident with a semitrailer, this information matters because your ability to seek compensation for your losses all depends on the ability to prove driver negligence. If a truck driver fails to abide by hours of service regulations, this is a form of negligence. Being able to show regulation violations in court will greatly help your case.

Seeking relief for my losses

The damages associated with truck accidents can be extreme. If and your legal counsel can successfully establish negligence against the truck driver and his or her employer, you may be able to achieve compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of companionship
  • Pain and suffering

The court considers all documented economic and non-economic damages when awarding a settlement.

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