Published on:

Truck Driver Fatigue:  The Dangers of Exceeding Hours of Service Regulations

Last summer, a tractor trailer accident seriously injured actor and comedian Tracey Morgan and took the life of comedian James McNair. This fatal car accident drew the nation’s attention to the problem of truck driver fatigue. Investigations revealed that the driver who crashed into Morgan, McNair, and several other comedians as well as assistants had not slept in over 24 hours.  This driver’s fatigue is believed to have impacted his reaction time, allowing him to slam at high speed into the stopped limousine.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is estimated that tired driving causes about 100,000 accidents every year, resulting in over 1,500 deaths and another 40,000 injuries.  Driving while tired has been linked to falling asleep behind the wheel, distraction, slowed reaction time, overreaction, running lights or stop signs, and failure to observe obstacles, along with other dangerous behaviors.

Federal Hours of Service Regulations

In order to ensure truck drivers do not operate 80,000 pound tractor trailers without adequate sleep, the federal government created the Hours of Service Regulations.  These regulations set a maximum number of hours a truck driver can travel before needing to stop and rest. These federal regulations apply to all trucks that travel interstate.  Some states have passed their own hours of service type regulations that truckers within that state must observe.  When drivers exceed the hours of service regulations, the result is often serious accidents that often result in injury or death.

The hours of service regulations are currently set as follows, though some changes are expected in the near future:

  • 14 Hour Duty Limit: No truck drivers can be on duty for more than 14 hours and once a driver has worked for 14 hours, he or she must observe a 10 hour rest period.
  • 11 Hour Drive Time Limit: During their maximum of 14 hours of duty, a truck driver cannot exceed 11 hours of driving time.  A driver cannot start driving if more than eight hours have passed since they were last off duty or slept for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • 70 Hour Work Week: Truck drivers are allowed to work a maximum of 70 hours per week within a seven day period.  Work includes all on hours spent driving.  After the 70 hour work week is exceeded, drivers must rest for at least 34 consecutive hours.

Work Place Pressures Lead to Exceeding Hours of Service Requirements

Truck drivers across the country struggle to meet stringent deadlines set by employers and feel great pressure to complete deliveries quickly so that they can begin other jobs and turn a greater profit.  These work place pressures can lead truck drivers to exceed hours of service requirements, which may involve falsifying truck driver logs.  Serious accidents may result and all truck accident victims should investigate the possibility of truck driver fatigue as a cause of their accident.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Outstanding Representation for Our Injured Clients

If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a truck accident, contact the Miami Truck Accident Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano  We have of 130 collective years of experience representing truck accident victims in South Florida.  We will review your case and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.  Our firm has received a coveted AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and the Miami Herald recognized us as a top firm in South Florida.   Allow our exceptional attorneys to provide you with superior legal services in the South Florida area.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

Contact Information