How Long Can a Truck Driver Drive in One Shift?
The most recent report on large trucks by the NHTSA found that 5,005 people were killed in 2019, and approximately 159,000 people were injured in truck accident crashes nationwide. A whopping 71% of the people who lost their lives in these crashes were drivers and passengers of other motor vehicles. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 13% of commercial truck drivers were fatigued to some degree when they got into a crash.
Fatigue can cause impaired driving performance, including poor decision-making, attention failures, and slower response times. It’s also widely known that driver fatigue can lead to a raised risk of motor vehicle collisions because of impaired driving performance.
The vast majority of commercial truck drivers are paid by the mile instead of the amount of time they drive. For this reason, many truckers opt to continue driving even when they feel fatigued. They are also pressured to meet tight and unrealistic deadlines.
General Trucker Hours-of-Service Rules
Since fatigued truck drivers have an increased risk of getting into crashes, the FMCSA sets limits on the number of hours truckers can drive without stopping for breaks. The rules are implemented to ensure the safety and health of truckers and other road users, including other drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, etc.
Under the FMCSA rules, the 168-hour week of truck drivers restarts after a 34-hour off-duty period. A standard workday is 14 hours, and truckers can only drive for 11 of those hours. The rest of the hours can be used for non-driving tasks, including vehicle inspections, training, and fleet meetings, among others.
Truckers can only work a 14-hour shift after being off-duty for 10 hours. They cannot work for more than 60 hours in a week or 70 hours in eight days. Likewise, truck drivers can only work a 16-hour work shift if these conditions are met:
- No driving for more than 11 hours.
- Drivers must start and end at the same terminals.
- A 16-hour work shift is only allowed in a workweek of 168 hours.
- Drivers cannot use the 16-hour exemption with another exemption, for example, the exemption for adverse driving conditions, which is two extra driving hours in case of unanticipated traffic incidents or hazardous weather conditions.
These hours-of-service regulations also regulate breaks and mealtimes and entitle truckers to a 30-minute break following eight hours of driving. It’s also crucial to note that besides these federal regulations, states may have their own rules on rest and meal breaks.
Talk to an Experienced Florida Truck Accident Lawyer
Injured in a truck accident in Florida? The Florida truck accident lawyers of Matthews Injury Law will ensure that the negligent driver (and/or other parties) will be held liable for the damages you incurred from the accident and your serious injuries. We will get you the financial compensation and proper care you need to handle your injuries and various disruptions to your life caused by the preventable truck accident.
Get in touch with our Florida truck accident lawyer today and schedule your free consultation by calling 813-530-1000 or 941-877-5800 or contacting us online.