Despite your best efforts to avoid driving while drowsy, you likely understand what it is like to feel fatigued while behind the wheel. When you do, you typically can pull off the road to rest and recover. Yet what happens when those whose job it is to drive (such as truckers) begin to tire? The need to complete their routes may prompt them to try and power through their fatigue. The danger in this is that they drowsiness can inhibit their reaction times, making them a risk to you and others on the road.
To avoid even the potential of truck drivers becoming fatigued while on the job, the federal government has established regulations related to the number of hours that they can be behind the wheel of their vehicles. Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these regulations prohibit:
- Driving for more than 11 hours after having taken 10 consecutive hours off
- Driving beyond the fourteenth hour after having a 10-hour off duty period
- Driving for more than eight consecutive hours without taking a break of at least 30 minutes
- Driving more than 60/70 hours during a 7/8 work week
For the purpose of these regulations, a new work week only begins after a driver takes 36 consecutive hours off.
The likelihood of the truck driver that hit you admitting to having been drowsy at the time of the collision may be slim. Fortunately, truckers are required to log their hours for reference (they may face fines and further professional disciplinary measures if they fail to do so). Thus, a quick review of those logs will tell you whether or not they may have been pushing the limits of how long they were supposed to be working.