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Hours of Services regulations are meant to lower truck accident rates

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Personal Injury

Sharing the road with massive 18-wheelers can be intimidating. While modern trucks are engineering marvels, fatigued commercial drivers remain a significant threat to road safety. That’s why Hours of Service (HOS) regulations were established to mitigate this danger.

These are a set of rules that govern how many hours commercial drivers can work without mandated rest periods. These regulations go beyond ticking some boxes; they are crucial for promoting safety on the roadways.

Driver fatigue and the essence of HOS regulations

Commercial drivers who work for extended periods can no longer be alert behind the wheel. This is because exhaustion takes a toll on their body and impairs:

  • How quickly they react to dangers on the road
  • Their perceptions of dangerous situations on the road
  • The coordination they need to operate 18-wheeler trucks

All of these elements are essential for the safe driving of 18-wheeler trucks. Federal agencies established HOS regulations to help deter commercial drivers from overworking. The regulations have established a maximum threshold beyond which truck drivers should not work. The regulations also mandate minimum rest periods before commercial drivers can get behind the wheel again.

Specific details of HOS regulations

While the specifics can vary from one trucking operation to another, some common elements are constant across industries. The consecutive hours a commercial driver can spend behind the wheel is restricted. Commercial drivers are not allowed to work more than 11 hours after a 10-hour break.

HOS regulations also limit the total on-duty time within a specific period. On-duty time encompasses all work activities, including driving, loading and unloading. Drivers are required to take breaks throughout their shift to help ensure adequate rest. These breaks can be short breaks for meals or longer rest periods to promote sleep.

HOS regulations help to ensure that truck drivers are well-rested and alert when they’re behind the wheel. By following these regulations, commercial drivers can help minimize the occurrence of truck accidents on the roadways. And by holding them accountable for violations that lead to harm, crash victims can pursue justice for what they’ve lost.