Truck Accident Prevention and Hours of Service Regulations

Hours of Service (HOS) federal regulations that cover commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are designed to prevent fatigue-related truck accidents. A CMV is generally used for interstate commerce and satisfies any of the following:

  • More than 10,001 pounds
  • Weight rating of 10,001 or more
  • Transports 16 or more people without compensation
  • Transports 9 or more people with compensation
  • Transports hazardous materials in quantities requiring the use of placards

The newest version of HOS regulations was published on December 27, 2011 and was effective two months later on February 27, 2012. Full compliance is mandatory by July 1, 2013. The American Trucking Association has petitioned for a review of these rules before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

The new rules include rules for the 34-hour restart, where drivers could clock in 70 hours per week after a 34-hour stretch off-duty. Two rest breaks of 30 minutes each are also mandated for night-driving (based on home terminal time) between 1 and 5 in the morning.

There are two categories for drivers under HOS regulations: property-carrying and passenger-carrying.

Property-carrying CMV

  • Maximum of 11 hours driving after 10 hours off-duty
  • Drivers may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming off duty
  • Maximum of 60 hours on duty in a 7-day period or 70 hours over 8 days
  • Sleeper berth equipped trucks: minimum of 8 hours in the berth within the 10-hour mandatory off duty

Passenger-carrying CMV

  • Maximum of 10 hours driving after 8 hours off-duty
  • Drivers may not drive beyond the 15th hour after coming off duty
  • Maximum of 60 hours on duty in a 7-day period or 70 hours over 8 days
  • Sleeper berth equipped trucks: may split the mandatory 8 hour off duty into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours

Civil penalties apply for CMV drivers who violate the prescribed time limits, or who fail to follow mandatory break periods. If it can be proven that a fatigue-related truck accident resulting in an injury occurred due to a violation of the HOS, the injured party may be eligible to file for compensation from the party responsible for their losses, whether that is the truck driver himself / herself, or the company that employs the driver.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose a Rating