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What are Hours of Service Regulations for Truck Drivers?

Drowsy driving is a cause of motor vehicle accidents all throughout New York, and drowsy driving does not only affect individuals operating their own personal vehicles. Truck drivers can and do choose to drive when they are too tired to safely operate their rigs. According to a 2016 study on driver fatigue, drowsy driving was a contributing factor in many serious motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks.

While sleep deprivation is a dangerous problem for all drivers, drivers of large trucks can cause particularly tragic devastation when they fall asleep at the wheel. A tired truck driver who fails to break when approaching traffic may collide with numerous vehicles at a high rate of speed and cause significant pain and loss to victims.

To combat this prevalent and preventable problem, the government has enacted regulations to limit how long truck drivers may operate without taking breaks. These regulations are termed “hours of service” because they control the number of hours that drivers may operate in service to their contracts. Hours of service regulations vary depending upon if a driver is hauling passengers or freight.

For example, a driver hauling freight may not drive for more than 11 hours after having a 10-hour break from driving. A driver of passengers, though, may not driver for more than 10 hours after having an 8-hour break from driving. Hours of service regulations also stipulate where a driver may take their break, such as in their rig or in a separate location.

Motor vehicle accidents involving trucks can be deadly. Distractions and drowsiness can be causes of these needless incidents and victims of truck accidents can take control of their own recoveries. The assistance of knowledgeable legal professionals can be invaluable to victims who wish to seek their damages from those who caused their harm.

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