The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has the duty of regulating the number of hours truck drivers are allowed operate. This is done to ensure they do not drive while fatigued, which helps protect not only their safety, but the safety of others they share the road with as well.
In December 2011, a new rule was adopted by the FMCSA to combat the overwhelming proliferation of fatigued driving. While the rule is incredibly detailed, the heart of it focused on two primary updated requirements. This included:
- Drivers must take a 30-minute rest within the first eight hours of their shift.
- Drivers can use what is known as a “restart” only once every 168-hour work week. A restart is a 34-hour rest period, allowing drivers to catch up on sleep. This rule was intended to reduce the average maximum week a driver could work.
Additionally, drivers can drive up to 11 hours, and are limited to 14 hours within a duty period. This cannot be extended to make up for time spent on meals or fuel stops. Within a 7-day period, drivers cannot work more than 60 hours. To enforce these rules, the FMCSA put heavy penalties in place for violations. Some of these penalties include:
- Fines ranging from $1,000 to $11,000 per violation, which may be imposed on the driver, the carrier, or both.
- The safety rating of the carrier may be downgraded.
- A driver may be placed on shut down until enough off-duty time has been accumulated.
- It is also possible for federal criminal penalties to be brought against carriers or drivers who knowingly and willfully violate the hours-of-service regulations.
At Hartman-Imbriale LLP, our Woodstock truck accident lawyers are well-versed in the laws and regulations surrounding commercial vehicle accidents. We have over 25 years of combined experience and will put it to work for you to develop strong and strategic claims on your behalf.
Call us today to request a consultation at (678) 647-7220.