While all drivers have an obligation to operate their vehicles responsibly to keep themselves and other travelers safe, truck drivers have additional regulations to abide by due the size and weight of the vehicles they are operating, the cargo they are transporting, and the long hours they spend on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established regulations relating to several areas including:
- Maintenance of commercial motor vehicles (CMV)
- Vehicle operating standards
- Hours of service
- Safety awareness
As a truck driver, it is especially important to adhere to hours-of-service regulations, due to the dangers of drowsy driving. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 100,000 accidents in the United States in 2017 involved drowsy driving. With truck drivers operating their trucks for many continuous hours, sometimes late at night or early in the morning, it is especially important for them to adhere to the FMSCA’s requirements relating to hours of service and driver fatigue. Some of these regulations for property-carrying drivers include:
- Driver should not operate CMV if they are too tired to do so.
- Driver may drive up to 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Driver may drive up to 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty, after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Driver must take a 30-minute break from driving for a period of 8 cumulative driving hours.
Despite being just as dangerous as distracted driving or driving while impaired, drowsy driving is often not taken seriously by truck drivers. If you were involved in a truck accident with a truck driver who fell asleep behind the wheel, both the truck driver and their employer could be liable for your accident-related damages. An attorney can help you file a personal injury claim against the parties responsible for your accident.