Recently, you experienced your first truck accident. You have a personal injury claim against the truck driver, and you want to build your case. Did driver fatigue contribute to the harm you suffered? How long can truckers drive before taking a break, and does it matter?
Western Truck Insurance Services explains federal regulations regarding how long truck drivers may work before taking a break. Strengthen your truck accident claim by determining why the accident happened.
Understanding Duty Periods
The U.S. Department of Transportation uses duty periods instead of workdays for the trucking industry. The DOT uses regulations based on hours worked rather than specific times of the day. For example, a truck driver’s workweek may begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Every duty period lasts 14 hours. While truckers may drive as many as 11 hours during a duty period, they must take a half-hour break after driving eight hours. Breaks count against the 14-hour duty period.
Truckers have a seven-day work period. While they may work seven consecutive days, they must break for at least 34 hours in a row before beginning a new work period.
Understanding Exceptions for Truck Driving Laws
Truckers who begin and end a duty period at the same location for a single-day assignment may work 16 hours. Even then, a truck driver may only drive for 11 hours. Truckers cannot apply this exception to layovers. The exception only applies once a duty period and requires a 34-hour break before being used again. If a trucker encounters bad weather that slows the vehicle’s progress, she or he may use the exception.
Contact an experienced truck accident law firm in San Antonio by calling 210-366-4949 for a free consultation.