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Federal law: hours of service rule for truck drivers

Almost every driver, from Arizona or elsewhere throughout the country, is cautious while driving near heavy vehicles, especially trucks. Drivers are aware that any misfortune leading to a truck accident can cause serious injuries and even death. Hence, they try to remain away from the blind spots of the vehicles and avoid driving close to the truck. However, sometimes the drivers may not be able to avoid a truck crash.

Authorities noticed that one of the main reasons for truck accidents is truck driver fatigue. The driver may be working long hours with minimum breaks and rest, which can affect the driver's attentiveness. Lack of rest and sleep can also cause the driver to not concentrate on the road and cause an accident. This factor caused the federal authorities to change the hours of service laws for truck drivers.

According to the new federal trucking regulations, truck drivers cannot work beyond 14 hours in a day and have an 11 hour daily limit for driving. This ensures that, as compared to the 82 hours enforced previously, truck drivers can now work a maximum of 70 hours per week. Any driver who has worked for 70 hours in a week can resume work only after resting for 34 consecutive hours. This rest should include at least two nights for the time between 1:00 and 5:00 in the morning. In addition, all truck drivers should take a half an hour break during the first 8 hours of their shift. This law ensures that the truck driver is well rested before undertaking a journey and while driving the huge vehicle.

In addition to these laws, various other transportation and safety laws are enforced by federal and state authorities to minimize accidents. However, sometimes truck drivers or the truck company fail to observe the laws. This can cause serious injuries and even death to a victim. There are strict laws for such offenses and the victim or the family of the victim can file a lawsuit to hold the wrongdoer liable for their loss.

Source: FMCSA, "Hours of Service," accessed on Nov. 18, 2014

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