According to 49 CFR Part 395 by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers carrying a property load in their big rig or 18 wheeler must rest from driving under certain circumstances. The law is based upon a study conducted to produce safer operations by commercial trucking companies and drivers.
Consistent with a National Transportation Safety Board Study, fatigue was found to be a large factor in over 50% of truck accidents. Another study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration concluded that the risk of a trucking accident doubles from the 8th consecutive hour and the 10th consecutive hour of driving, and again between the 10th and 11th hours.
As a result, the Department of Transportation has pushed for strict laws regarding the maximum driving time and hours of service regulations for commercial truck drivers.
The following outline the regulations regarding property-carrying commercial vehicles:
- 11 Hour Driving Limit – A truck driver may not drive more than 11 total hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
- 14 Hour Limit – A driver may not drive past the 14th consecutive hour after coming back to duty from 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
- 60 / 70 Hour On-Duty Limit – A commercial truck driver is not allowed to drive after 60 hours on duty in a 7 consecutive day period, or after 70 hours in an 8 consecutive day period. A driver may only start another 7 or 8 day period after 34 consecutive hours or more off-duty.
The law surrounding passenger-carrying commercial vehicles differs in the maximum driving time for these drivers. If you have any questions regarding the maximum driving time and truck driver fatigue, immediately talk to a truck accident lawyer from Arnold & Itkin LLP.