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What regulations can reduce truck driver fatigue?

We recently discussed some of the most common causes of trucker fatigue. If you recall, trucker fatigue is a major problem that can lead to trucking accidents. In an effort to combat trucker driver fatigue, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has enacted Hour of Service regulations that truckers who meet certain criteria must follow. Our Wisconsin readers might be interested in learning more about these regulations.

Who has to comply with the HOS regulations?

The first requirement is that the commercial motor vehicle is used for interstate commerce. In order to have to comply with the HOS regulations, the vehicle must meet one additional requirement from a list of five. These five include:

-- Transports hazardous materials that require a placard.

-- Weighs at least 10,001 pounds.

-- Is designed or used to transport nine people including the driver for compensation.

-- Is designed or used to transport 16 people including the driver not for compensation.

-- Has a gross combination weight rating or gross vehicle weight rating of at least 10,001 pounds.

What are the driving limits for these drivers?

The driving limits depend on whether the driver is carrying cargo or passengers. For drivers carrying cargo, the daily limit is 11 hours on the road or 14 hours on duty. A 10-consecutive-hour rest period is required prior to the start of the on-duty or driving time. For drivers carrying passengers, the on-the-road limit is 10 hours, but the on-duty limit is 15 hours. This is after an 8-consecutive-hour rest period. Limits also exist regarding the number of hours on duty in periods of 7 or 8 days.

Scrutinizing log books and other records to determine if the applicable HOS regulations were followed is one of the vital steps anyone who is injured in a trucking accident should do. This could give insight into whether driver fatigue caused the accident or not.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Hours of Service" accessed Mar. 19, 2015

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