As people in Florida head out on their family road trips this summer, they will surely find themselves in the company of semi-trucks on the highways. These massive vehicles take a good deal of training to handle. Moreover, their large size means that due to sheer physics, any accident involving a semi-truck has the potential to be catastrophic. It is important, then, that semi-truck drivers stay as safe as possible while behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, some semi-truck drivers are incentivized financially to make as many deliveries as possible, as quickly as possible. This can lead to driver fatigue, which is a very dangerous situation. The federal government recognizes this, and has regulations regarding how long a truck driver can be on the road before they must stop for a rest.
Under regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, semi-truck drivers can only drive up to 11 hours after having 10 hours in a row in which they are off duty. In addition, semi-truck drivers can operate their vehicles only if eight hours or less have gone by since the driver’s previous off-duty or sleeper berth period that lasted at least half an hour.
There is also the 60/70 hour limit rules. A semi-truck driver cannot operate their vehicle after 60/70 hours in 7/8 days in a row. The 7/8 day period can be restarted once the driver has been off-duty for at least 34 hours in a row. For semi-truck drivers using the sleeper berth provision, they must spend a minimum of eight hours in a row in their sleeper berth, in addition to a separate two-hour time period either spent off duty, in the sleeper berth or a combination of both.
These rules are meant not only to keep semi-truck drivers safe, but also to keep all other drivers on the road safe. Driver fatigue can be a real problem, but it is preventable. However, if a semi-truck driver fails to follow these rules and causes a truck accident, the injured party may want to speak to truck and bus accident injury lawyers to determine if it is possible to file a personal injury lawsuit.