Truck Driver Hours Of Service Attorneys in Richmond & Tappahannock

Truck Driver Hours of Service

The Richmond area is a major hub for commercial vehicle traffic. This means that commercial truck accidents are fairly common. In 2021 alone, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported 2,645 crashes involving large trucks throughout the Commonwealth. This means there is an average of 7.2 commercial trucking accidents per day in Virginia.

Driver fatigue is one of the most commonly cited factors in semi-truck accidents. There are strict federal regulations in place designed to combat driver fatigue, but they are often overlooked or simply ignored. If you have been seriously injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, an experienced Richmond truck driver hours of service lawyer can review your case and help determine if driver fatigue was a primary or contributing factor. Attorney Ryan Wind and his team at Wind Law, LLC, have represented many truck accident victims in negotiating personal injury settlements and pursuing litigation against negligent drivers and their companies.

How Long Can Truckers Stay on the Road Without Resting?

Truckers Stay on the Road

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates interstate commercial trucking in the United States. Among the FMCA’s key roles in promoting safety is its “hours of service” regulations. Put simply, these rules govern how long a commercial truck driver can stay on the road–and behind the wheel–without stopping to take a break or go off-duty for the day.

Like many regulations, the hours of service rules can be quite difficult to comprehend if you do not work in the trucking industry. But here is a rundown of the key provisions:

  • A driver may drive a maximum of 11 hours after spending 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
  • A driver may not stay behind the wheel more than 14 hours after coming on-duty following 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
  • The 11-hour and 14-hour windows described above may be extended up to 2 hours if the driver encounters adverse driving conditions such as bad weather.
  • If a driver has been behind the wheel for 8 cumulative hours, they must take a 30-minute break. During this 30-minute period they cannot drive.
  • A driver cannot spend more than 60 hours driving over 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours over 8 consecutive days. A driver must also spend at least 34 hours off-duty before starting a new period of 7 or 8 consecutive days.
  • If a semi-truck has a sleeper berth, the driver may split their mandatory off-duty period inside the sleeper berth, provided the combined time is at least 10 hours.

When drivers ignore these service-of-hour rules, that often leads to fatigued driving, which in turn significantly increases the risk of an accident. And if the subsequent investigation into an accident shows the driver stayed on the road too long, that can serve as key evidence of negligence in a personal injury claim. Similarly, if the trucking company knew the driver was breaking the rules–or encouraged them to do so–that can also demonstrate negligence on its part.

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Contact Our Truck Driver Hours Of Service Lawyers in Richmond & Tappahannock Today

As you can tell from the brief rundown above, service of hours regulations are quite complicated to understand. That is why it is essential to work with a qualified Richmond truck driver hours of service lawyer who can help you in looking into your own accident involving a commercial 18-wheeler. Contact our Richmond personal injury lawyers at Wind Law, LLC, today to schedule an initial consultation.