Hours of service regulations apply to certain truck and commercial vehicle drivers. These regulations are in place to prevent exhausted drivers from getting behind the wheels of their rigs and putting themselves and others in harm's way through their exhausted operating actions. Wisconsin residents have suffered harm when tired truck drivers allow their rigs to swerve between lanes, failed to stop in time before causing collisions and engaged in other dangerous driving practices.
Hours of service regulations are promulgated and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They are subject to change and individuals who are hurt in trucking accidents involving hours of service violations are encouraged to seek legal advice to know that they are working with the most accurate information relevant to their cases. The remainder of this post will discuss what hours of service regulations are and how they may be violated.
In essence, hours of service dictate how much time a driver may stay behind the wheel of their rig without taking a break or stopping to sleep. For example, a driver may not operate for 14 continuous hours after taking a 10 hour off duty break. The 14-hour stretch must include breaks in order to give the driver opportunities to rest. A driver may not spend more than 11 hours driving without taking breaks.
The regulations specify when drivers may take in-rig breaks and when they must get out of their rigs for sleep and longer periods of rest. These periods are necessary to ensure that truck drivers are alert and capable of making safe decisions while sharing the roads with other motorists. When they are ignored, drivers may lose their abilities to safely drive and to prevent dangerous trucking accidents.