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Hours of service rules seek to prevent truck driver fatigue

The people who drive massive semi-trailers must always be fit to drive when they are behind the wheel. This includes taking steps to prevent truck driver fatigue. To this end, truck drivers are required to follow hours of service rules. It is important to understand the federal hours of service rules Berks County truck drivers are expected to follow.

The hours of service rules are a little complex. First, truck drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off duty. The rules also recognize that truck drivers are often performing tasks other than driving when they are on duty. Therefore, truck drivers are not allowed to drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty after the 10 hours off duty. So, if a truck driver comes on duty and then begins driving four hours later, the driver must stop after 10 hours, assuming the driver was off duty for the necessary 10 hours first.

There are more rules that truck drivers must adhere to. Truck drivers may only drive if eight hours or less have elapsed since taking an off-duty or sleeper berth break of 30 minutes. This means if a driver comes on duty after a 10-hour off duty period and immediately begins driving, the driver must take a 30-minute break after eight hours even though the driver hasn't reached the 11-hour limit yet.

Further, a truck driver must not drive after 60 hours on duty in seven consecutive days or 70 hours on duty in eight consecutive days. Once one of these limits has been reached, the driver must take at least 34 consecutive hours off duty before driving again. The driver must record all hours on and off duty in a trucking log, and this trucking log must be available for inspection by authorities.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Summary of Hours of Service Regulations," accessed on Aug. 27, 2017

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