Trucking Hours Are Limited By The Government
You may already know that trucks often crash, because of driver error. And that driver error is often not caused by a lack of training or experience, but by simple fatigue. In the rush to get product where it’s going, to get as much product to its destination as possible, and to do it as quickly as possible, the temptation for truck drivers and trucking companies is to drive as long and as far as possible at any given time.
But all that leads to driver fatigue. On the road for hours on end, on often dark roads, being tired is an almost near guarantee. And when a truck driver gets tired, he or she loses control of the vehicle and catastrophe can ensue.
Government Limits Hours
All that is why the government has put restrictions on how long a truck driver can legally drive at any one time. The regulations are complex, but here is a basic rundown of the maximum hours that truck drivers can be behind the wheel at any one time.
A truck driver must get a 30 hour break, every eight hours. So long as the driver gets this break, he or she can drive for up to 11 hours at a time. After those 11 hours though, the driver must have an extended, 10 hour break from driving.
But a driver can’t just keep driving 11 hours on, 10 hours off. The government has set maximum weekly driving limits as well. Over the course of 8 days, a driver cannot be behind the wheel for more than 70 hours. Once the 70 hour maximum is reached, the driver must be given 34 hours off from driving.
Various Exceptions to the Restrictions
These hours and limitations only apply to commercial vehicles, not passenger vehicles. And there are a number of exceptions.
The limitations are really intended to restrict or limit long-distance hauling. Many of these time restrictions don’t apply where the driver is just moving product within a limited radius (often in the range of 100 miles) of the main place of work, or where the company is headquartered.
There are also some exceptions for deliveries during the holiday season, and for emergencies (such as trucks delivering emergency supplies to affected areas). Drivers can often extend the time limits if they encounter bad or dangerous weather, allowing them to drive out of the weather first, and then take their break.
Tracking the Hours
The law requires that drivers’ hours be tracked, so that the government can monitor driving hours. This is often done electronically, but can be done by logging hours on paper as well. Drivers must be given a copy of the log, so the driver and the company have copies of the hours the driver worked.
Have you been injured in a trucking accident? Contact our Rhode Island personal injury lawyers at Robert E. Craven & Associates at 401-453-2700 for help.