The Hours of Service regulations establish limits on the amount of hours commercial truckers may drive per day as well as per week. The federal regulations were published in 2011, and new provisions to the law went into effect in 2013.
According to Hours of Service regulations, commercial truck drivers may work a maximum of 14 hours in a 24-hour period, with no more than 11 of those hours on the road. Furthermore, pursuant to HOS regulations, drivers of a commercial motor vehicle may work a maximum of 70 hours in a week. Moreover, in the event that they reach this limit, drivers must rest for 36 continuous hours, including two nights, before they can resume driving. Additionally, truckers must take a 30-minute work break during the first eight hours of each shift.
Commercial trucks that weigh more than 10,001 pounds or that transport hazardous materials requiring placards must adhere to the Hours of Service regulations. Truck driving logbooks exist not only to track the hours that truck drivers work but also to deter drivers from shirking the rules.
Companies that instruct drivers to violate federal Hours of Service regulations or manipulate logbooks are in violation of federal law and may be penalized accordingly. Moreover, truckers who are in violation of these regulations at the time of a traffic accident may be held liable, along with their employers, in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Thus, when motorists are injured in a truck accident, it is important to investigate whether the truck driver was in violation of federal regulations at the time of the collision. Besides relying on law enforcement, many truck accident victims retain a personal injury lawyer, who may help them pursue civil action as a means for recovering their losses related to the incident.
Source: FMCSA, "Hours of Service", October 21, 2014