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Hours-of-service requirements for truck drivers

Traveling on New York's roads for long, uninterrupted periods of time can make almost anyone feel fatigued. A fatigued driver is a dangerous driver given the impact that drowsiness can have on one's reaction times while behind the wheel. Those whose jobs require them to drive for extended lengths (such as truck drivers) are encouraged to not push themselves to becoming physically exhausted on the road, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that fatigue is cited as a cause in 13 percent of commercial vehicle accidents. 

Refraining from driving can be difficult for truck drivers due to the fact that they are typically only paid when they are driving. Thus, federal laws have been established to govern the hours of service truckers can work. Working hours must be recorded by drivers so that such records can referenced if questions about compliance to these laws arises. 

Per the FMCSA, hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers are as follows: 

  • One cannot drive more than 11 hours following a 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • One cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour following 10 consecutive hours off duty
  • One cannot drive for more than eight consecutive hours without taking a break to rest
  • One cannot drive more than 60 hours over seven consecutive days, or 70 hours over eight consecutive days

Addressing the 60/70-hour work week in particular, one must first take a minimum of 34 consecutive hours off duty before resuming a new week or work. 

A truck driver that does fall asleep at the wheel may be unlikely to admit it. Therefore, one involved in a truck accident might want to insist on authorities investigating the logs were truckers detail their hours to fulfill the recording requirements that were mentioned earlier. 

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