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Are truck driver's working hours regulated?

A commercial motor vehicle is one that is used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce. In addition to this, it either weighs 10,001 pounds or more or has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating the same as mentioned above, can transport 16 passengers or more not for compensation or 9 passengers or more for compensation or transporting hazardous materials in a specified quantity. Many Ohio residents may see these vehicles on the road and refer to them as trucks or 18-wheeler trucks.

Sharing the road with these enormous vehicles, both in size and weight is not an easy task. They take longer to turn, accelerate, and brake and also are more difficult to see around. Any error on the truck driver's part could lead to disastrous results, as the resulting accident could cause catastrophic injuries. Fatigue, drowsiness and distractions are some of the reasons truck drivers could cause crashes. One of the ways federal authorities have sought to reduce the number of trucking accidents is by regulating the hours of service of a truck driver, through the Hours of Service Final Rule, published in late 2011. The final compliance date of these rules was July 1, 2013.

According to these rules, a truck driver of a property carrying truck can drive a maximum of 11 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off of duty. For those carrying passengers, they can only drive a maximum of 10 hours but they must have taken 8 consecutive hours off duty before that. Among the provisions is one of hour limits. A passenger carrying vehicle driver cannot drive if they have completed 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. The same goes for property carrying vehicle drivers, with the exception that they can restart their 7/8 day period after taking 34 or more hours off consecutively.

These regulations are enacted to ensure that drivers do not get fatigued or drowsy while driving, as this increases the chances of their involvement in an accident. However, not all drivers follow these regulations and when they don't and an accident takes place, they can be held accountable for violating federal regulations.

Source: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration, "Summary of Hours of Service," Accessed on Oct. 6, 2015

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