Law Office of Michael R. De La Paz

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Combatting trucker fatigue to improve safety

Anyone in Tennessee who has been in a standard passenger car right next to a semi-truck knows how dwarfed this makes one feel. You instantly realize the massive size and weight differential of the two vehicles and are aware of how people in passenger vehicles are at a big disadvantage if they are involved in an accident involving an 18-wheeler. One safety factor that can contribute to an accident and has long been of concern is fatigue among truckers. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does have official rules that outline the number of days and hours a trucker may work and even drive and when they should take breaks. The goal of this rule, called the Hours of Service rule, is to prevent fatigued driving among commercial vehicle operators. A truck driver may have a seven-day work week or an eight-day work week. In the former, they are limited to 60 hours of work total. In the latter, they are limited to 70 hours of work total.

A single work day cannot last more than 14 hours but that does not mean they can drive that long. Only 11 hours per day can be spent driving. During those 11 hours, a break must be taken after eight hours and that break must be at least 30 minutes long. 

If you would like to learn more about how you can seek help after you or a loved one has been involved in a vehicle accident involving a big rig, please feel free to visit the commercial truck crash assistance page of our Texas personal injury and motor vehicle accident website.

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