Trucking Hours-of-Service Violations
Truck Accident Lawyer in Orange County
Were you injured by a negligent truck driver who was not following legal trucking guidelines? There are hours-of-service regulations that all truck drivers must abide by to maintain safe trucking transport and the safety of other vehicles on the road. These hours-of-service rules are closely regulated by The United States Department of Transportation (DOT), which also closely monitors the number of hours that a specific truck driver can work each day and each week.
When truck drivers and trucking companies choose to ignore these guidelines, drivers can become exhausted and even fall asleep at the wheel, putting other drivers at risk. If you or someone close to you has been in a truck accident, let our personal injury attorney investigate.
Contact our office immediately following your accident to request a free consultation and find out if you have a case against the trucking company. Our Orange County truck accident attorney has the experience, resources, and skill to zealously fight for you.
What Are the Hours-of-Service Guidelines for Truck Drivers?
Here are some of the general rules and regulations that truck drivers and trucking companies must adhere to:
- Truck drivers are permitted to drive 11 hours or 14 hours per duty period
- Drivers have to take a 30-minute break before they reach their 8 hours
- Drivers can extend the 14-hour duty period limit but only with off-duty time for things like fuel stops and meals
- A driver's seven-day workweek gets restarted after their 168th hour of work; during this time, they must have taken at least 34 consecutive off-duty hours
- A driver's duty period should always start with 10 off-duty hours
- Each driver is permitted to work on-duty 60 hours broken up over seven consecutive days
- Sitting and resting in a parked vehicle does not constitute on-duty hours
Sometimes, there are small extensions permitted due to bad weather or poor safety conditions that make it unsafe for drivers to drive or pull off the road.
What Is the 16-Hour Exception?
There is a 16-hour exception in place that refers to drivers with one-day schedules who leave and return to the same terminal. Out of these 16 hours, drivers are only permitted to be on the road no more than 11 hours. The 16-hour exception cannot be used consecutively; drivers must have a 34-hour reset in between.
Penalties for Violating Trucking Hours-of-Service Rules
There are several penalties truck drivers and trucking companies face for knowingly violating hours-of-service rules. These are outlined below:
- A driver who goes over the allotted number of hours may have to stop roadside and remain there until they have accrued enough off-duty time
- They could be fined by law enforcement
- Drivers could receive a civil penalty from the FMCSA; these levies could range anywhere from $1,000 - $11,000 depending on the violation
- The driver's safety rating could suffer
- Trucking companies who knowingly permit or condone hours of service violations could face federal criminal penalties
Unfortunately, these penalties do not always stop truck drivers from violating hours-of-service laws, nor do they always stop trucking companies from looking the other way when such violations occur. If you were involved in a truck accident in Orange County, we know how to investigate whether hours-of-service violations played a role in causing driver fatigue or exhaustion. Our Orange County truck accident attorney can clearly explain all of your legal rights and options based on the specific facts of your case.
Get an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney on Your Side
Here at Gill Law Group, PC, we pride ourselves on standing up for the rights of personal injury victims, including those harmed in a devastating trucking accidents. If a truck driver was found to be in violation of the trucking hours-of-service at the time of the accident, you could take legal action against the driver or the driver’s employer. Our truck accident lawyer is highly adept in these cases and is ready to fight for your rights.