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Truck drivers limited to federal hours of service

Pennsylvania resident might be interested to learn that truckers are explicitly limited in how much driving they can do each day. In 2011, the federal government published a Final Rule for truck drivers' hours of service, mandating that commercial drivers operate no more than 11 hours daily and work a total of 14 hours each day.

The Hours of Service rule received an update in mid-2013, and truckers' work weeks were limited to a total of 70 hours. Truckers also gained some leeway from an exception that lets them exceed the 70-hour work maximum if they rest for 34 consecutive hours after passing the limit. Additionally, truck drivers are required to take a break for at least 30 minutes during the first eight hours of work under law.

These rules apply to a specific class of vehicles, including the majority of large business-owned vehicles used for trade between states. Vehicles that weigh more than 10,001 pounds, carry at least one driver and eight passengers for profit or transport dangerous substances that must be marked fall under the auspices of the Hours of Service Final Rule.

Although these practices were designed to keep other drivers safe, truck wrecks and injuries may still occur. Truckers who become fatigued and injure others in accidents may have exhibited negligent behavior by failing to follow the Hours of Service mandates. In those events, victims could decide to pursue compensation, and a lawyer representing them may build their cases by possibly investigating a trucker's driving schedule to determine if he or she was adhering to regulations.

Source: FMCSA, "Hours of Service", November 10, 2014

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