Truck drivers are held to a professional standard while on the road. They must receive special training and follow numerous regulations to maintain their professional licensure. Unfortunately, drivers can become negligent in following guidelines, turning their large trucks into dangerous weapons on the nation’s highways.

In decades past, truck drivers were held to an incredible standard of tight schedules, incredible distances and long days. Fortunately, there are federal hours of service regulations in place that carry significant penalties if they are violated.

The general hours of service guidelines include:

  • Each duty period must begin with at least 10 hours off-duty.
  • Drivers must work no more than 60 hours on-duty over seven consecutive days or 70 hours over eight days.
  • Drivers must carefully maintain a log of on-duty hours.
  • Drivers can be on-duty for up to 14 hours following 10 hours of off duty time. Of the 14 hours, they are limited to 11 hours of driving time.
  • Drivers must take a mandatory 30-minute break by their eighth hour of coming on duty.

There are various exceptions to these guidelines based on adverse driving conditions and special dispensation for a 16-hour day. However, it is crucial that drivers follow these rules to prevent fatigue and protect the safety of the other vehicles on the road.

Driver fatigue is an issue that plagues truck drivers of all ages and experience levels. Many drivers will attempt to combat drowsiness by watching a movie or engaging in conversation – both dangerous driving distractions. Additionally, some drivers will attempt to maintain alertness through artificial means – drugs or alcohol.

If you were injured or you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, it is wise to discuss your case with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney.