Truck Driving Hours of Service Regulations and Safety Laws

Driver fatigue is a major contributor to truck accidents. Trucks drive across states for multiple hours a day, usually with little to no breaks. Driving such long distances easily tires out truck drivers, and when a driver is tired, they usually aren’t able to break as quickly, may fail to practice safe driving behaviors like using a turn signal or checking their mirrors, and in some cases, could fall asleep behind the wheel.

What are Hours of Service Regulations?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a set of rules, called Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, which established a legal limit on the number of hours that commercial truck drivers are allowed to work in a day.

According to HOS regulations, a truck driver’s work day can only begin if they have been off duty for a total of 10 consecutive hours. Once they are on the clock, their time on duty cannot exceed 14 hours, and only 11 of those hours can be spent driving. They are also required to take a 30-minute break after eight hours of their shift has passed.

After seven consecutive days (60 hours) or eight days (70 hours) of work, truck drivers must be off duty for a mandatory period of at least 34 consecutive hours.

The Importance of HOS Rules

Hours of Service regulations protect truck drivers from being overworked, and therefore protect other drivers from the hazards a fatigued driver can cause. Tired drivers often fail to practice safe driving — these regulations ensure truckers are well-rested and complete every trip safely. Drivers who violate Hours of Service rules put others at risk, and could be held liable for doing so.

If you were injured in a truck accident, call (915) 206-5154 or send us a message to schedule a free consultation with the Ortega, McGlashan, Hicks & Perez, PLLC legal team. We are available to discuss your rights following an injury.