Federal regulations try to reduce fatigued truck driver accidents

Being a truck driver is difficult. Truckers are frequently away from home for days at a time. They must spend hours on the road, and face pressure to complete their deliveries as quickly as possible. So it is natural that truckers would be tempted to do what they can to reach their destination rapidly.

Perhaps the two most common ways to achieve this goal is to drive over the speed limit, and to spend as many hours on the road as possible. Unfortunately, both of these are risky behaviors that often lead to serious traffic wrecks.

For instance, spending too much time behind the wheel at the expense of sleep leads to fatigued driving. A truck driver nodding off on the highway is a very dangerous situation.

For this reason, federal regulations attempt to limit long truckers can spend working for any one period, and impose required rest periods. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website, drivers can go for a maximum of 14 hours after first coming on duty, but only after at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty. However, drivers cannot go for more than eight hours without going off duty, or taking a 30 minute rest break in the truck’s sleeper berth.

Also, drivers may not drive after 60 hours on duty in seven consecutive days, or 70 hours over eight consecutive days. A driver can start a new consecutive day period by taking at least 34 hours straight off duty.

Though truck accidents are relatively rare, they are frequently catastrophic. The size of semi trucks versus the average passenger vehicles means they can cause terrible harm to the public.