Some of the most dangerous accidents in Georgia involve trucks and tractor-trailers. A big reason for this is that trucks are so much bigger than cars and SUVs. A person in a passenger vehicle doesn’t stand a chance against a 30,000-pound machine. And, because trucks can be so dangerous, there are federal guidelines that dictate what a truck driver can and cannot do on the road. Driving hours for truckers are limited, among other rules and regulations, to help keep everyone safe.
Regardless of who they work for, a truck driver has to follow these rules and regulations. If they get into an accident and the plaintiff can prove they didn’t follow the rules, they will be found negligent. And, in this case, they can also lose their commercial driver’s license. They owe it to other motorists to be careful and to be aware of how dangerous their vehicles can be.
Here, we’ll talk about what the federal rules are for truck drivers. We’ll specifically talk about what the rules say about how many hours a truck driver can work without taking a break. If they break these rules and you get injured as a result, you may need to call an experienced truck accident lawyer in Macon, Georgia.
Who is in Charge of Setting the Rules Regarding Driving Hours for Truckers?
The Federal Department of Transportation oversees things like truck driver’s hours. The specific agency that handles this is called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Their rules cover anyone who carries transport (or people) across state lines. For the most part, this applies to almost all tractor-trailer drivers.
If the FMCSA finds that someone has violated any of the federal rules they can do the following:
- Downgrade the driver’s safety rating
- Assess fines against the driver and their company from $1,000-$10,000 per violation
- Force them to shut-down until they’ve met their off-duty hours requirements
What are the Federal Rules Regarding Driving Hours for Truckers?
The rules regarding truck drivers’ hours can be a bit confusing. One reason drivers are required to keep logbooks is so that there’s no question about whether they’ve met or violated the hours rules.
The rules that govern truck drivers’ hours are as follows:
- There must be at least 10 hours between driving shifts
- Drivers cannot log more than 60 hours in a seven (7) day work week, or 70 hours in an eight (8) day work week
- No driver can log more than 14 hours per shift. Only 11 of these hours can be spent actually driving. The other 3 hours can be used for rests, loading and reloading trucks, or weighing their vehicles. It also includes breaks and refueling times.
- If there is inclement weather, a driver may extend these limits by up to two (2) hours. This only applies if they’re already on the road when the weather hits. If they can get safely home, or return their vehicle, they need to make every effort to do so.
- All drivers must take a thirty (30) minute break before they hit their 8th hour of driving
- If a driver is only working one (1) day a week, and their shift starts and ends at the same terminal, they can work up to 16 hours. However, they may still only have 11 hours of actual driving time
- All drivers are required to maintain driving hours logs at all times
If a driver breaks any of these rules, they’ll be subject to the penalties outlined above. Not only can the driver be assessed these penalties. The company they drive for will usually be cited as well. If a driver is pulled over or is involved in an accident, the police can demand to see copies of their drivers’ logs. Your Macon truck accident lawyer can use these logs to prove that the driver was in violation as well.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Macon, Georgia Today
If you or your loved one are injured in a tractor-trailer crash, call our office right away. An experienced truck accident lawyer knows what the law says when it comes to driving hours for truckers. They also know how to prove whether the truck driver was negligent.
Call our automobile accident law firm in Macon and schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. They can answer any questions you have. They can also give you an idea about what your case may be worth. Finally, they can let you know what your options are for filing a legal claim. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you win or settle your case.