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Truck safety regulations: what are hours of service rules?

Roadway safety is an important issue for all of us, because we all use the road and are all at risk when other motorists fail to exercise reasonable care. Trucking safety, in particular, is an important issue because of the harm that can be done to motorists who become involved in a truck accident is potentially significant, and the trucking industry has a special duty to exercise care in its operations to ensure public safety.

Trucking safety is regulated at both the federal and state level, and there are a variety of regulations and rules truck drivers and trucking companies are required to follow. These rules and regulations include various areas: inspections, repair and maintenance; braking; load securement; wheel protection; vehicle size and weight; special hauling permits; use of safety devices; and hours of service. 

While every area of truck safety regulation is important, hours of service rules have been especially in the light in recent years due to a struggle the trucking industry, on the one hand, and lawmakers and safety advocates on the other. The hours of service rules, which can be found on the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, can be summarized as follows:

  • No driving more than a total of 11 hours per work period
  • No driving after 14 consecutive hours on duty per work period
  • Driver must take at least 10 consecutive hours off duty from one work period to the next
  • Required rest break of at least 30 minutes after 8 hours on duty
  • No driving after 60/70 hours on duty over 7/8 consecutive days—this period may be restarted by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off duty
  • Drivers using a sleeper berth  are required to take at least 8 consecutive hours off duty

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this topic, focusing on the current state of the 34-hour restart rule and holding truck drivers accountable for negligence.

Source: Ohio State Highway Patrol, Truck Drivers Guide Book, date of publication not provided.

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