18 Wheeler Hours Of Service Rules
A fully loaded 18-Wheeler can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. The damage done to automobile passengers is often life-changing if not fatal when the semi-truck crashes into an ordinary car weighing only about 5,000 pounds.
According to the most recent report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2020, there were nearly 4,500 fatal semi-truck accidents in the U.S. In addition to those killed, hundreds more were seriously injured, some so severely their lives will never be the same.
The FMCSA found that driving while fatigued is a major cause of trucking accidents. In an attempt to decrease these crashes, the FMCSA issued hours of service regulations that drivers of 18-wheelers must follow.
Drivers must also keep a daily log of their driving time to prove they are following the rules. Drivers sometimes fail to follow the rules or keep an accurate log when they are under pressure from their employers to deliver their goods on time.
Failure to follow the rules or keep the required log may be used as evidence of negligence if you are injured in a crash with an 18-wheeler.
Overview of 18-Wheeler Hours of Service Rules
The rules require drivers to rest after a certain number of hours of driving, mandate how long the rest periods must be, and limit the number of consecutive days a driver may drive.
The specific rules are:
- 11-hour driving limit. Drivers are limited to driving only 11 hours after being off-duty for 10 consecutive hours. This 11-hour period is the maximum driving time within the 14-hour work limit.
- 14-hour work limit. Drivers may only work a total of 14 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty. The 14-hour limit includes the 11-hour driving limit, food breaks, and naps.
- 30-minute driving break. Drivers must take a minimum of a 30-minute break after driving for eight consecutive hours. This can be a lunch break, nap time, or any other non-driving time.
- 60/70-hour limit. This rule limits the number of hours drivers can spend driving in a six or seven-day period.
- Sleeper birth provision. If the 18-wheeler sleeping berth meets specific requirements, drivers may use time in the berth to meet their off-duty 10-hour period. They can split time in the berth if they have at least a 7 consecutive hour period spent in the berth if other time spent there equals the 10-hour required rest time. Time spent in the sleeping berth does not extend the 14-hour limit on driving time.
There are exceptions to the rules if drivers encounter adverse driving conditions, and for drivers who drive only for “short-hauls.”
Drivers Must Keep Daily Logs
Drivers are required to keep a 24-hour log of their driving time. This includes all rest time as well as time on the road and off-road hours. The log also includes days off.
Contact Larry Wall Trial Law for More Information
If you were injured in an 18-wheeler accident in Wichita, Kansas, you need the help of a personal injury attorney with a track record of success in helping victims of semi-truck accidents recover for their damages. That attorney is Larry Wall. Contact his office for a free case analysis.