Commercial truck drivers in the United States must adhere to laws and regulations implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The regulations imposed by the FMCSA are broad and come with strict attendant fines and penalties for those who do not abide by them. To help keep our highways and byways safe for everyone, the FMCSA holds all big-rig drivers on the road to strict compliance.
Hours of Operation
Semi drivers must work within firm hour limitations as set forth by the FMCSA. Commercial drivers must limit their hours of driving to 14 hours within a one period of duty and can only engage in 11 hours of uninterrupted driving, which must include a 30-minute break for every eight hours of driving. Further, the 14-hour-per-day maximum must incorporate all breaks and gas stops within that 14 hours (drivers cannot subtract break times from the time total).
These time restraints represent the basics, but restrictions can get more complicated from here. Tractor trailer drivers face caps for their weekly driving and mandatory breaks of a minimum number of consecutive hours. Any deviation from these important restrictions can lead to penalties and fines for both the driver and the trucking company. In fact, federal criminal penalties can be brought against violators that are deemed to have broken regulations knowingly and willfully.
Tired Truckers Are Dangerous Truckers
The FMCSA implements these strict regulations for a very good reason—tired commercial drivers are dangerous commercial drivers. Because huge commercial trucks are arguably the most dangerous vehicles on the road, the FMCSA carefully enforces restrictions on how many hours truckers can spend driving. Nevertheless, the demands of trucking can be arduous, and truckers often will drive under the influence of exhaustion. Semi drivers who are tired on the job face several functional impairments:
- Decreased attention
- Decreased alertness
- Longer reaction times
- Lapses in good decision making
When truckers drive while drowsy, they are far more likely to be involved in serious accidents, and they endanger everyone on the road. Fatigued driving can occur even if a truck driver is within the confines of hours of service regulations. A driver should follow safety tips and recognize that if they are fatigued, they should not push the limits, and instead take a necessary rest break. If they fail to do so, they may be held liable for any accidents and injuries they cause in a fatigued driving crash.
If You Were Injured in a Semi Accident, Contact the Fountain Law Firm Today
At the Fountain Law Firm, P.C., we have successfully helped many truck accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve for the injuries and related losses they’ve sustained. To ensure that you receive the compensation that you’re entitled to, you need an experienced truck accident attorney to handle your case. Attorney Merry Fountain can meet with you today either in her office or at your home–whichever is most convenient for you. For a free consultation, call Merry Fountain anytime at 1-888-242-HURT (4878).