Examining Laws to Prevent Truck Driver Fatigue
Fatigued drivers are a danger that all motorists in Green Bay must deal with. Yet that danger is not only posed by traditional motorists; despite their extensive training and experience, professional truck drivers are also susceptible to becoming drowsy behind the wheel, as well.
Indeed, one might argue that they present an even greater risk given the amount of time they spend driving. The pressure to satisfy both their employers and their clients may even prompt some truckers to push themselves to (and even beyond) their physical limits.
Federal Hours-Of-Service Restrictions
Federal regulations thus mandate that truck drivers observe strict hours-of-service standards in order to avoid the potential of becoming fatigued. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these include:
- Only working 60/70 hours during a given 7/8-day work week
- Not driving for more than eight hours without taking a 30-minute break
- Not driving beyond the fourteenth consecutive hours after coming back on duty
- Not driving for more than 11 hours during an individual work shift
In order to restart a work week or work shift, a truck driver must take off-duty periods of 34 and 10 consecutive hours, respectively. One should also know that these standards apply only to those drivers who transport freight; separate (yet similar) regulations exist for drivers transporting passengers. The aforementioned regulations also only apply to drivers operating vehicles with a gross vehicular weight of over 10,001 pounds.
Exceptions to Federal Standards
Beyond the exceptions pointed out in the previous paragraph, there are certain scenarios where (per the FMCSA) that the federal government may elect to suspend hours-of-service restrictions. These include situations where increased demand mandates that truckers stay on the road longer (such as during periods of national crisis or when supporting disaster relief efforts). In most other cases, however, they must document their adherence to these regulations.