Drowsy or fatigued drivers are dangerous drivers. The effects of sleep deprivation are so severe that transportation industries have regulations to prevent it. In the airline industry, there are very strict requirements regarding time off and the maximum number of hours that a pilot can fly.
Similar rules apply to terrestrial transportation. Commercial truckers are often subject to very strict deadlines for work that don’t take traffic conditions or weather into account. Some professional drivers may feel like they need to stay on the road until they reach their destination, even if it means several extra hours at the wheel. Federal regulations specifically prohibit this kind of behavior, as it can increase the risk of a crash.
Hours of service rules limit drive times
With a few exceptions, usually granted during times of emergency or supply chain issues, commercial drivers are all subject to hours of service (HOS) rules. There are two sets of rules that apply to those driving vehicles transporting people and vehicles transporting goods or materials.
Those transporting merchandise in semitrucks can drive for no more than 11 hours in a day and should be at work or on the clock for no more than 14 hours. Additionally, they should not have more than 60 hours of total drive time in seven days or 70 hours in eight days.
Commercial vehicles contain electronic logging devices that helps track violations of these crucial HOS safety rules. Those injured by a truck driver on the road when they should not be may have grounds for an insurance claim or possibly even a civil lawsuit. Learning more about the laws intended to prevent commercial truck collisions can help you protect your rights if you are injured.