The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller

How long can truckers travel before stopping to rest?

As a previous post on this blog discussed, truck driver fatigue is an all-too-common problem in Berks County, Pennsylvania, as well as throughout the rest of the state and even the country. Driving while fatigued is dangerous and can directly or indirectly contribute to a serious and devastating truck accident that leaves Pennsylvania residents permanently disabled, or even dead.

As the previous post mentioned, many, but not all, truckers that operate in the Berks County area are subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's "rest rules," also known as hours of service regulations. The Administration, which regulates the interstate trucking industry, put these rest rules in place in order to reduce incidents of truck driver fatigue by making sure that truckers have the opportunity to get enough rest. After all, getting enough sleep is the single best way to avoid fatigue on the road.

In general, the rest rules require a driver not be behind the wheel for more than 11 hours without getting at least 10 hours of down time. Even when accounting for short breaks, a trucker cannot be traveling for more than 14 hours without stopping for 10 hours of down time. In theory, the driver's trucking log should show whether or not the driver followed the rest rules. Limits on how much a driver can travel over the course of about a week without a full day off also apply. It should be noted that these rest rules are slightly different for drivers of passenger vehicles like buses.

The rest rules can be complicated and difficult to interpret, so if someone suspects that they were the victim in an accident caused by a fatigued trucker, it may be best to ask one of our office's attorneys for more information about the rest rules.

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