Are There Laws that Regulate Truck Drivers’ Hours?
A good percentage of truck accidents in Louisiana are caused because drivers are overtired and overworked. A lot of people complain about working eight or nine hours a day. We may even work overtime from time to time. But, few of us know how many hours a truck driver works in any given week.
Truck drivers work long and hard hours. Some don’t get days off for weeks on end. They may work more than 10 hours a day. Being on the road for this long can be difficult. It’s no surprise that so many tractor trailer drivers get into serious accidents.
The problem is, when a truck driver gets into a crash, people are seriously injured. Very few people walk away from a truck accident with just a few bumps and bruises. Most people who are hit by a tractor trailer suffer debilitating injuries. They’ll be out of work for weeks or even months.
This is why the federal government has put laws into place controlling how many hours a truck driver can work. These rules are pretty strict. But that doesn’t mean that some drivers don’t break the rules. If this happens and you’re injured as a result, you need to contact a Baton Rouge truck accident lawyer.
What are the Federal Rules for Truck Drivers?
Baton Rouge truck accident lawyers know the federal regulations very well. They know exactly what truck drivers are supposed to do. They also know that truck drivers and their employers don’t always follow the rules.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the group that writes and enforced these rules. The rules are published every year. All tractor trailer drivers are familiar with them. They know exactly what they’re supposed to do.
These rules regulate the amount of hours a truck driver can work. It requires them to take a certain number of breaks as well. If a driver violates these rules, they can be fined. They can also lose their commercial driver’s license. Knowing their livelihood is at stake, you’d think they’d be more careful.
Violating these rules can be considered per se evidence that a truck driver is at fault for your accident. Your truck accident attorney in Baton Rouge will submit evidence of these violations.
What are the Laws Regarding the Number of Hours a Truck Driver Can Work?
According to the federal rules, a truck driver can’t work shifts longer than 14 hours. This isn’t 24 hours in a 24-hour period. The 14 hours start when the truck driver logs in.
Driver are also limited to working 11 hours in this 14-hour period. They must take mandatory breaks throughout their shift. They can also log the hours they spend doing things other than driving. For example, if a driver spends 3 hours loading and unloading freight, they can log these as non-driving hours.
The rules require that a tractor trailer driver must take at least one thirty (30) minute break during any 11-hour shift. They must take their break before they hit the 8-hour mark.
If there is bad weather, a driver’s limit goes from 11 hours to 13. This is because they don’t want truck drivers driving too fast in dangerous conditions.
What is the Weekly Limit on Hours?
Tractor trailer drivers have to follow weekly rules in addition to daily hours’ rules. The rule is called the 60/70-hour rule. If a driver’s company is open all week, the driver can work up to 70 hours per week. If they’re only open during the week, the driver’s maximum hours can only be 60 hours.
Since most of us work about 40 hours a week, these rules put things into perspective. Drivers are allowed to work almost twice as much as a normal person before the law considers them at risk. This means that, even under the federal guidelines, there are truck drivers out there who are way too overtired to be hauling a tractor trailer.
Truck Drivers Must Keep Daily Logs
Drivers are required to keep daily logs. These logs will track the hours they drive and the miles they cover. They must also log all of their mandatory breaks. Truck drivers will also make note of the time they are doing things other than driving.
Your Baton Rouge truck accident lawyer is going to look at this in detail. If they believe the truck driver violated the rules, they’ll include this as evidence to prove your case.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you need to contact a truck accident lawyer at Babcock Trial Lawyers right away.