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What are the federal trucking regulations for hours of service?

It is not uncommon for residents in Tennessee to witness large trucks traveling on the roadways. Semi-trucks and tractor-trailer trucks are utilized in numerous industries; indeed, businesses, corporations and individuals are very reliant on these vehicles to transport large shipments across the nation. While these are frequently used vehicles, their large size does pose some risks on the roadways. Moreover, due to the long hours behind the wheel, truck drivers also create some dangers to others on the roadway.

Because these massive vehicles could cause much damage when involved in a truck accident, some question what the rules are regarding the amount of time a truck driver is permitted to driver in a set amount of time. The federal trucking regulations for the hours of service of a truck driver lays out the amount of hours they can travel consecutively and how often and how long breaks must be.

According to the regulation, the start of a driver's shift cannot begin until they have been off duty for 10 consecutive hours. Once they are permitted to drive, they may only drive during a period of 14 hours following this 10-hour break. A driver is only allowed to drive 11 of the 14 hours during this period, but if more than 8 hours have passed since their last off duty period or break, they are not permitted to drive past these 8 hours.

Driver fatigue is a major issue with truck drivers, and if they fail to follow these regulations and cause a collision, they could be at fault for the accident. Liability for a truck accident could be established if the trucker failed to take the required breaks or off duty periods. The injured party could file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver, which could result in compensation being awarded. This could be used to offset the costs associated with medical bills, lost wages, damages and other related damages.

A truck accident can be a very severe collision, and the victims of the crash might not know what o do following the incident. In these situations, it is important they understand their legal remedies and any laws in their favor. This will ensure their rights are protected and interests are served in a cause of action.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. "Part 395: Hours of Service of Drivers," accessed on Sep. 28, 2014

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