Truckers must follow hours-of-service rules

Drowsy driving is a major concern on Connecticut roads, especially among truckers. This is because a fully-loaded semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. If a trucker falls asleep behind the wheel and collides with another vehicle, the sheer physics of the situation often means that the occupants of the other vehicle can be seriously injured or even killed. It is for this reason that the federal government has “hours-of-service” rules that limit how long a trucker can be on-duty before having to take a rest break.

First, truckers can only drive up to 11 hours after having taken 10 consecutive hours off-duty before they must take a rest break. In addition, truckers may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour on-duty following 10 consecutive hours off-duty. On-duty times include times the trucker is performing job duties such as loading and unloading, in addition to driving.

Truckers may drive only if eight hours or less have passed since their past off-duty or sleeper berth period of 30 minutes or more. There are, however, short-haul exceptions to this rule. In addition, truckers may not drive after being on-duty for 60/70 hours within 7/8 consecutive days. The 7/8 day period begins after the trucker has been off-duty for 34 or more hours in a row. Truckers who are using their sleeper berth must spend a minimum of eight hours in a row in the sleeper berth, plus an additional two hours in a row either in the sleeper berth, off-duty or a combination of both these options.

These regulations are meant to prevent drowsy driving accidents, but sometimes truckers do not follow them and drive even though they are fatigued. This could cause a trucker to strike another vehicle. If a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck, they will want to determine if they have the grounds to pursue compensation against the responsible parties.