Drowsy driving is the cause of far too many accidents, in New Jersey and across the country. Driver fatigue may affect anyone, at any time. What drivers choose to do when tired, though, can cause or prevent accidents. To help prevent trucking accidents, long distance truck drivers are required to follow certain regulations, with regard to their working hours. If a truck accident occurs, it is common for investigators to review the driver’s work log in order to help determine if a compliance issue may have contributed to the crash.
Getting tired while driving happens to just about everyone, especially when traveling long distances. Obviously, the best thing a driver can do in this type of situation is pull of the road and rest. Unfortunately, many truck drivers feel they cannot take a break due to the schedules there are required to maintain.
To help prevent fatigue-related truck accidents, federal regulations have been put in place regarding the number of hours a day, and week, that drivers are allowed to be behind the wheel. The failure to abide by these regulations can mean serious legal issues for drivers and their employers. Some of these regulations are:
- A driver must have 10 consecutive hours off before the start of a shift.
- Drivers are not to be on duty longer than 14 straight hours.
- Only 11 of those 14 hours may be spent driving.
- Those who work 7 days in a row are not to exceed 60 work hours per week, unless given the required resting period.
- A driver who works eight consecutive days is not to exceed a 70 hour work week, without taking the appropriate off-duty period.
Following these regulations is important, simply from a safety standpoint. Doing so only protects truck drivers, their employers and, most importantly, all others out on the road. Sadly, though, even with restricted hours, numerous trucking accidents in New Jersey and nationwide, can be linked to driver fatigue. A person who has been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident may pursue legal remedies to seek compensation for his or her losses. If a driver is found to have been non-compliant with working hour guidelines, or have been negligent in any other way that caused or contributed to a truck accident, a monetary judgment may be awarded for any damages sustained.
Source: fmcsa.dot.gov, “Hours of Service Of Drivers“, Accessed on May 25, 2015