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An introduction to Hours of Service regulations

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Truck Accidents

Semitrucks are large and heavy rigs that must be handled very carefully. Because trucker fatigue is such a major hazard on public roads, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set specific rules about how long truckers can drive before they must take a break.

These Hours of Service (HOS) regulations apply to nearly almost all semitrucks and passenger transport vehicles that can carry nine or more people, if there is compensation involved. If there’s no compensation involved, HOS requirements apply to vehicles that transport at least 16 people, including the driver.

What are the hourly limits?

Most property carrying drivers can drive up to 11 hours if they had 10 hours off duty. For passenger carrying drivers, the limit is a maximum of 10 hours driving if the driver was off duty for 8 hours. Because some truckers have duties beyond driving, there is a 14-hour driving limit that prohibits truckers from driving after the 14th hour on duty, even if they haven’t driven more than 11 hours yet. That time limit is 15 hours for individuals carrying passengers.

Are there exceptions?

There are two exceptions that apply to certain cases. These include a short-haul exception that allows the trucker to drive 14 hours if the haul is 150 air miles or less. Adverse weather conditions can give the trucker up to two hours of extra time on the road.

Victims of semitruck crashes involving HOS violations may be able to hold negligent drivers and/or their employers liable for their harm. A violation of these rules can serve as powerful evidence in a truck accident case.

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