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Accidents May Occur When Truckers Violate HOS Regulations

Fatigue has long been one of the leading causes behind truck accidents. Pressured by their employers to make shipments in good time, truck drivers all too often engage in marathon driving sessions which leave them worn out and unfocused. This behavior is incredibly risky and contributes to the many truck accidents recorded each year. To curb fatigued driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces hours of service (HOS) regulations, which govern when and for how long a truck driver may operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Truck drivers and trucking companies that do not comply with these regulations and cause an accident as a result of their negligence may be held liable for all damages.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck accident, get in touch with the highly qualified Seattle truck accident attorneys at Pendergast Law right away. Trucking companies and the insurance adjusters behind them react immediately in most accident cases, deploying all kinds of tactics, personnel, and resources to reduce the chance of a successful claim. To get the settlement you are entitled to, you must act just as fast. Call us now at 888-539-9211 and let us help you preserve your claim so you can get what you need to make a full recovery.

What Are The Hours Of Service Rules?

The HOS regulations generally impose limitations on allowable on-duty hours in addition to obligatory break periods. The different rules are as follows:

  • 14-hour duty limit: According to this rule, a driver cannot be on duty for more than 14 hours, after which he or she must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours before going back on duty.
  • 8-hour driving limit: According to a provision that took effect on July 1, 2013, truckers cannot drive if more than eight hours have passed since the end of the last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes.
  • 60/70 hour duty limit: If a company is not in operation every day of the week, a driver may not be on duty for more than 60 hours in a seven-day period. If the company is in operation every day of the week, a driver may not be on duty for more than 70 hours in an eight-day period. Drivers may restart their 60 or 70 hours after they have had at least 34 consecutive hours off duty. This rule is known as the “34-Hour Restart.” The restart period must incorporate at least two sessions between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Also, the 34-hour restart is only allowed once a week (every 168 hours).

For the full text on these rules, go to Part 395 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

What Is Considered On-Duty Time?

On-duty time is not necessarily driving time. It also includes time spent on:

  • Awaiting dispatch orders
  • Inspecting, servicing, or conditioning of any CMV
  • Crossing a border
  • Unloading and loading
  • Filling out paperwork
  • Attending to a disabled CMV
  • Providing breath or urine samples when drug tested
  • Performing any other work in the service of a motor carrier
  • Performing any compensated work for a party that is not a motor carrier

When a trucker is relieved from all work and responsibilities associated with the carrier, then he or she is officially off duty.

Seattle Hours Of Service Violation Attorneys Protecting Your Interests

At Pendergast Law, we will use the full extent of our capabilities to yield a positive case outcome for you, whether in conducting an investigation or fighting for a fair settlement in trial. Contact our Washington hours of service violation lawyers today to learn more about our services.

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