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Truck driver hours-of-service regulations explained

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2020 | Blog |

The many semi-trucks and tractor-trailers you see traveling on Indiana’s roads and highways may seem intimidating. Any fears you may have of them are likely balanced out, however, by the knowledge that those driving them are typically highly skilled. 

Is for this very reason that you may question the fitness of a truck driver after experiencing a truck accident. As many of our past clients here at the Fifer Law Office can attest to, fatigue can often make even the most capable truck driver dangerous. 

Reviewing hours-of-service regulations

Federal lawmakers understand that given the long uninterrupted hours truck drivers spend on the road, the potential of them becoming fatigued is ever-present. Knowing the dangers posed by drowsy truck drivers, they have thus created strict guidelines regulating when (and for how long) a truck driver can work. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the regulations require that drivers: 

  • Drive no more than 11 hours without having to then take 10 consecutive hours off duty 
  • Do not drive beyond the fourteenth consecutive hour after having come back on duty 
  • Drive no more than eight hours without taking at least a 30-minute break 
  • Do not work more than 60-70 hours across 7-8 consecutive days 

Detailing exceptions to hours-of-service guidelines

There are certain exceptions to these standards. A truck driver with a sleeper berth in their vehicle may split up their 10 hours off duty provided they take at least a two-hour break followed by at least seven hours sleeping in the sleeper berth. Guidelines also only apply to those operating vehicles with a gross-vehicular weight over 10,001 pounds, as well as those traveling more than 100 miles away from their point of origin. 

You can learn more about identifying truck driver negligence by continuing to explore our site.