The ‘Hours of Service’ Rule for Truckers Explained

truck accident

As a federal agency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration works under the Department of Transportation, and in doing so, they serve to create a safe environment on the road. However, for many people, it doesn’t seem so safe. In fact, if you were recently in a truck crash, it might seem outright treacherous. The rules that truckers have given them a lot of licenses. You’ll probably need to reach out to one of our Georgia truck accident attorneys.

However, these rules serve the trucking companies more than they serve the truckers. The companies behind these drivers don’t expect these rules to work as limitations, but instead, the normal workday or workweek.

What are the Hours of Service?

The “Hours of Service” are a set of guidelines provided by the FMCSA to direct truckers and trucking companies on when it would be safe or unsafe to work. These aren’t set to a particular time or day but instead, apply to the trucker personally based on when they started their workday and when they started their workweek.

Can Certain Truckers Work for More Than 14-Hours in a Day?

Yes, one of the primary elements of the Hours of Service guidelines is to prove drivers with an increased level of flexibility. To do that, in the final rule, they created a variety of points that should permit drivers to work without risking safety. Some of these points allow that the 14-hour workday has an exception, such as when the driver is traveling 150-air miles.

They can also use a tactic to balance their breaks and rest-periods to expand one day and shrink the next. As long as these rules have been around, truckers have been trying to work within these tight loop-holes to get more out of a 14-hour workday.

Why Are There Hours of Service Rules?

Nearly every other industry has some type of structure when it comes to working. Construction crews work together in hours that permit for the safest work environment, so they may work at night to experience less traffic, or in the late afternoon to beat the heat of the day. Most industries have that 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. mentality, but the trucking industry is completely different.

The trucking industry uses the hours of service rule because, in theory, truckers can work whenever they want to. If truckers prefer to work through the night when traffic is lighter, they can arrange that. Or, if they prefer to keep a regulated schedule with being awake in the day, they can arrange that too.

However, no matter the time of day that they’re working, they need safe conditions, and that means getting enough sleep and taking regular breaks. There are hours of service rules because the trucking companies within the industry would gladly work their truckers literally to death. But, these guidelines restrict how many hours a trucker can drive in a day, and how often they should take breaks after their “shift” starts.

Why Aren’t There More Stringent Guidelines on Truckers Workweeks?

One of the biggest gaps in the hours of service rules are that the driver’s complete workweek can span across a wide stretch of hours. For example, the hours of service demand a “reset” from one workweek to the next with at least 34 consecutive hours for a “break.” But, that would be the same as getting off work on Friday at 6 p.m. and going back to work on Sunday at 4 a.m., which is hardly a “weekend.”

They may typically work between 60 hours per week on a 7-day stretch or up to 70 hours on an 8-day stretch. These questionable hours and fluctuations make it very easy for drivers to max out their time, take a “reset,” and then start a new week, which can quickly run them down and make them prone to drowsy driving.

Obtaining Legal Counsel After a Truck Crash

A truck crash is something evidently devastating, and if you are the victim of a truck wreck, then you need all the support you can get. Legal support can be easy to come by, but finding the right attorney for your case can certainly be a difficult task. You want an attorney who negotiates aggressively, pushes the limits for your settlement, and seamlessly handles tasks so that you can worry about the more important elements of your recovery. You shouldn’t spend every waking hour worrying about your financial state, instead, get a professional to do it for you.

At the Weinstein Firm, you can sit back and count your stitches, or get back to work, while we navigate this legal mess for you. We take trucking companies and big trucking insurance companies head-on and without fear.

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