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Federal rest rules help prevent truck driver fatigue

A previous post discussed the danger of truck driver fatigue to Californian motorists. Indeed, a tired truck driver may exhibit the same behaviors as a drunk or drugged driver, which can lead to serious truck accidents. These accidents leave victims to recover from debilitating injuries, or even death.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates commercial truck drivers that travel between states, issued federal rest rules to combat truck driver fatigue. Although these rules have some nuances, in general, the rules require truckers to stop and take a break.

For instance, a trucker who is hauling property must stop for at least 10 hours after driving for11 hours. And, breaks, fuel stops and the like, do not count toward this 11 hours. A separate rule requires a 10-hour rest once a driver has been on the job for 14 hours.

The rest rules also limit the amount of time a driver can be on the job during the week. Depending on the circumstances, a truck driver must stop and rest for about a day and a half after either 60 or 70 hours of driving. In addition, slightly different rules apply to drivers of large buses, who travel from state to state.

While the federal government enforces these rules, a violation of the rules can also be used as evidence that a truck driver was too tired to operate a large truck safely. This could then be used to show the driver was negligent in a crash, which could be used to hold them accountable in a subsequent lawsuit.

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