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Federal rest rules limit time truckers can stay on road

As this blog has mentioned previously, a fatigued truck driver or, for that matter, any commercial driver can cause a great deal of destruction. Even if a driver does not outright fall asleep behind the wheel, a driver who is too tired can easily drift in and out of his lane, make explained stops and, basically, exhibit a lot of the same behavior one would expect from a driver who is drunk or drugged.

In order to cut down on dangerous fatigued driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has put forward rules that limit the number of hours a trucker can drive before taking a lengthy break, that is, one that would be the equivalent of a worker's clocking out for the day and going home to rest.

Specifically, a trucker hauling property may only drive for 11 hours before he or she must take 10 hours off. Moreover, because driving time does not include things like short restroom breaks and fuel stops, the driver also has to take 10 hours off if he or she has been on the road for 14 hours.

Similar weekly limits apply. Basically, after 60 to 70 hour of weekly driving time, a property hauler has to rest for 34 hours. In other words, truckers must take one day off for every week or so of driving.

These rules apply to any trucker regulated by the FMCSA. Not following these rules can mean fines and, in serious cases, losing the privilege to drive a commercial vehicle or, in the case of a trucking firm, losing the ability to operate across state lines.

Moreover, if there is proof that a trucker broke the federal rest rules and, subsequently, had an accident, the violation can be used as evidence that the trucker was too tired to drive and thus acted negligently by staying on the road. A Tampa truck accident victim can use this information in his or her efforts to obtain compensation.

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