The Role of Hours of Service Regulations in Preventing Truck Accidents

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By Jacob Maslow

When truck accidents occur in the US, there’s a 52% chance that fatigue is a causative factor. The crash risk effectively doubles from the 8th to the 10th hour of driving and doubles again from the 10th to the 11th hour.

To curb road accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) set a limit for the number of hours drivers can operate before taking a mandatory break. These hours are called Hours of Service.

When drivers violate these rules, they make the road unsafe for themselves and other users. Michigan Injury Lawyers and other highly respected law firms are always ready to provide legal representation to victims of accidents caused by tired truck drivers.

How the Hours of Service Regulations Prevent Accidents

Here are some of the ways hours of service help regulate truck accidents in the US:

Ensuring the drivers are well-rested

Truck drivers are, without a doubt, some of the hardest workers in society. They are tasked with transporting goods to different locations, far and near.

While on the road, they face challenges that test their mental and physical capabilities. Often, they can pull through these obstacles without any casualties.

Considering their pressure, they must get adequate rest at the end of the day. If the body is not given sufficient resting hours, it may break down at the most critical hour. It would be fatal if the driver is behind the wheel during this crucial hour.

The HOS regulations require drivers to take regular rest breaks. These breaks are super important because they allow drivers to rest and recharge. When drivers take breaks, it helps fight off fatigue and keeps them more alert and focused on the road.

Setting Limits on Driving Hours

HOS rules dictate the maximum time a truck driver can spend behind the wheel within specific periods, such as daily, weekly, and monthly limits.

By setting these limits, the government ensures that drivers don’t push themselves too hard, which can lead to fatigue-related accidents.

For example, some regulations specify how many hours a driver can drive in a day, typically with a maximum of 11 hours. Also, there are weekly limits to prevent drivers from working excessively long hours without sufficient rest, normally around 60-70 hours in a 7-8 day period.

These limits are crucial for preventing accidents caused by driver fatigue. When drivers push themselves beyond these limits, they become more prone to making mistakes and have slower reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents on the road.

Enforcement through Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are devices that the authorities use to keep track of drivers’ hours of service and ensure compliance with HOS regulations. Unlike paper books that can be manipulated, these devices make it impossible for drivers to exceed their driving limits or falsify their records.

Since the drivers know their hours are being monitored, they are less likely to flaunt HOS rules and more likely to embrace road safety.

Wrapping Up

The primary aim of HOS regulations is to make the road a safe environment for both commercial truck drivers and other road users.

Considering the impact of truck accidents, every commercial truck driver needs to do all it takes to curb the possibility of a truck accident. Sticking to the HOS is a good way to start.

If you got hurt in a truck accident, the first thing you need to do after getting medical attention is to hire a lawyer. They can help determine liability and secure the compensation you deserve.

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