Truck Accidents and Hours of Service

Truck Accidents and Hours of Service

While many, many lawyers are capable of handling car accident cases—some better than others—only a handful of lawyers have the knowledge and experience to represent those injured in a tractor trailer or truck accident in West Virginia, Ohio, or Pennsylvania.  Why is that?  There are a variety of different laws and regulations truck drivers must follow that are not applicable to your everyday driver.  Knowing the ins and outs of those truck-specific laws and regulations is what separates the car accident lawyer from the truck accident lawyer.

Hours-of-Service Regulations

A perfect example are Hours-of-Service Regulations.  The amount of consecutive and cumulative time a truck driver may drive is subject to federal regulations.  The goal of these regulations is to make sure that truck drivers have the rest and break time they need in order to safely operate their tractor trailers on the road.  The goal is to prevent truck crashes, accidents, and injuries, among other things.  Tractor trailer and truck drivers must strictly follows these Hours-of-Service regulations.   

What are the Hours-of-Service Regulations?

The regulations distinguish between “property-carrying” drivers and “passenger-carrying drivers.”  Property-carrying drivers are simply drivers hauling freight and what the typical person thinks of when they think of a tractor trailer truck.  Passenger-carrying drivers are simply drivers that operate a travel bus, among other things.  The Hours-of-Service regulations differ depending on whether the driver is carrying property or people.

Property-Carrying Drivers

11-Hour Limit

Property-carrying drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.

14-Hour Limit

Property-carrying drivers may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.  Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period. 

30-Minute Driving Break

Property-carrying drivers must take a 30-minute break when they have driven for a period of 8 cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption.  The break may be satisfied by any non-driving period of 30 consecutive minutes (i.e., on-duty not driving, off-duty, sleeper berth, or any combination of these taken consecutively).

60/70 Hour Limit

Property-carrying drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.  A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. 

Sleeper Berth Provision

Drivers may split their required 10-hour off-duty period, as long as one off-duty period (whether in or out of the sleeper berth) is at least 2 hours long and the other involves at least 7 consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth.  All sleeper berth pairings MUST add up to at least 10 hours. When used together, neither time period counts against the maximum 14-hour driving window.

Adverse Driving Conditions

Drivers are allowed to extend the 11-hour maximum driving limit and 14-hour driving window by up to 2 hours when adverse driving conditions are encountered.

Short-Haul Exception

A driver is exempt from the requirements of §395.8 and §395.11 if: the driver operates within a 150-air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location, and the driver does not exceed a maximum duty period of 14 hours. Drivers using the short-haul exception in §395.1(e)(1) must report and return to the normal work reporting location within 14 consecutive hours, and stay within a 150-air-mile radius of the work reporting location.

Passenger-Carrying Drivers

10-Hour Driving Limit

Passenger-carrying drivers may drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.

15-Hour Limit

Passenger-carrying drivers may not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours off duty.  Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period. 

60/70 Hour Limit

Passenger-carrying drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. 

Sleeper Berth Provision

Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.  All sleeper berth pairings MUST add up to at least 10 hours.

Adverse Driving Conditions

Drivers are allowed to extend the 10-hour maximum driving time and 15-hour on-duty limit by up to 2 hours when adverse driving conditions are encountered.

Short-Haul Exception

A driver is exempt from the requirements of §395.8 and §395.11 if: the driver operates within a 150 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location, and the driver does not exceed a maximum duty period of 14 hours. Drivers using the short-haul exception in §395.1(e)(1) must report and return to the normal work reporting location within 14 consecutive hours, and stay within a 150 air-mile radius of the work reporting location.

Knowing these and other trucking regulations is extremely important.  That’s why it’s extremely important for you to contact a knowledgeable and experienced truck accident attorney if you’ve been injured in a tractor trailer truck crash.  The difference of hiring a lawyer that does not routinely handle truck accident cases or not hiring a lawyer at all can cost an injured person significant amounts of compensation. 

GKT is YOUR Local Truck Accident Law Firm

GKT has represented countless people injured in tractor trailer and truck accidents for decades from all over the Ohio Valley.  Our experienced attorneys fight to obtain the compensation our clients are due when they suffer injuries as a result of a truck accident.  If you’ve been injured in a tractor trailer or truck accident, call GKT today at (304) 845-9750 to speak with an attorney or live chat with a representative 24/7 at GKT.com.  We would be happy to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at your convenience. 

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