Drowsy or fatigued driving is a common cause of truck accident. Drivers face a lot of pressure from commercial trucking companies that employ them. They are being pressurized by their employers; to achieve tight deadlines, trucking companies push them to take the wheel when they are exhausted.
When a California truck accident lawyer takes a case that involves a commercial truck, he or she checks to see whether the driver was in clear violation of the state or federal regulations concerning hours of service when they were driving. HOS rules put caps on the number of back-to-back hours one can spend driving before they have to take a break.
In the event your accident was due to a breach of these rules, then it may help establish that that driver was to blame for it and help back a case for just compensation for damages.
Federal Regulations on HOS
The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) has separate regulations with regards to hours of service for passenger-carrying drivers and property-carrying drivers.
A driver who carries passengers has to follow the following HOS regulations set forth by the FMCSA.
- 10-Hour Limit: A driver is allowed to operate their vehicle for up to 10 hours after being away from work for 8 hours in a row.
- 15-Hour Limit: He or she is not allowed to operate it after having been working for 15 successive hours.
- 60/70-Hour Rule: A driver cannot drive after having been working for 60 to 70 hours, over a period of 7 or 8 days in a row.
- Sleeper-Berth Rule: Drivers using a sleeper berth have to spend at least 8 hours in the berth. Drivers are allowed to split time in it into two periods, provided that neither one is less than 2 hours.
The following regulations are with regards to the number of back-to-back hours these drivers are allowed to operate their vehicle.
- 11-Hour Limit: Drivers are allowed to take the wheel for up to 11 hours after having a break for 10 hours in succession.
- 14-Hour Limit: They are not allowed to drive over 14 hours after arriving on duty following 10 straight hours spent away from work. Spending more time on break does not make this 14-hour cap lengthier.
- Mandatory Breaks: Drivers can only drive if 8 hours or less passed since their previous sleeper birth or off-duty period of at least half an hour.
- 60/70-Hour Rule: They cannot drive after working for 60 to 70 hours over 7 or 8 straight days. The latter days starts again once the driver takes a break for 34 or more successive hours.