Commercial drivers, fatigue and safety

According to data collected and reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicular fatalities in accidents involving large commercial trucks have increased every single year from 2013 to 2017 in the state of California. In 2013, there were 259 deaths in large truck collisions. That was followed by 301 and 305 deaths in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Another 354 people were killed in truck crashes in 2016. Finally, in 2017, 361 lives were lost on California roads and highways in truck accidents.

Trucker fatigue has long been identified as a common contributing factor to accidents involving semi-trucks and other big rigs. It is for this reason that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has put into place what it calls the Hours of Service rule.

Under the Hours of Service rule, a trucker hauling goods can work up to 14 hours in a single day. However, only 11 of those hours can be spent driving. Those 11 hours cannot occur without at least one 30-minute break in an eight-hour period. After taking 10 hours off duty, a trucker may commence the next working day.

The Hours of Service rule also puts a cap on the number of hours that can be worked in a single workweek. If a workweek lasts seven days, the maximum number of working hours allowed for a driver is 60. For eight-day workweeks, a trucker can log up to 70 hours of work. Between the end of one working week and the start of another working week, a break lasting a minimum of 34 hours must be taken. The goal of this rule is to ensure that a trucker is not fatigued when behind the wheel.

Categories: Motor Vehicle Accidents

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