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A Houston truck injury attorney at Morrow & Sheppard would be privileged to discuss whether you have a viable wrongful death or personal injury case arising from an 18 wheeler, commercial vehicle, or truck accident.  We provide free consultations to everyone at 1-800-489-2216.  We are based in Texas but we handle serious truck injury cases around the country.

A frequent and oftentimes critical issue in truck injury cases is whether the truck driver abided by Hours of Service requirements.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act mandated that truck drivers are only allowed to be on the road a certain number of hours.  The failure to abide by these requirements can result in fatigued or groggy drivers, which in turn can result in a truck driver injuring or killing someone.

This is the third in a series of articles outlining the FMCSA “Hours of Service” requirements.

What Is The Maximum Truck Driving Time For Truck Drivers To Avoid Causing Injury?

Section 395.3 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act dictates the maximum amount of driving time that truckers can safely be on the road.  This is often called the “14 Hour Rule.”

The statute provides:

§ 395.3: Maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in § 395.1, no motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, unless the driver complies with the following requirements:

(1) Start of work shift. A driver may not drive without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty;

(2) 14-hour period. A driver may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. The driver may not drive after the end of the 14-consecutive-hour period without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty.

(3) Driving time and rest breaks. (i) Driving time. A driver may drive a total of 11 hours during the 14-hour period specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(ii) Rest breaks. Except for drivers who qualify for either of the short-haul exceptions in § 395.1(e)(1) or (2), driving is not permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.

(b) No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, for any period after—

(1) Having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or

(2) Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.

(c)(1) Any period of 7 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours that includes two periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

(2) Any period of 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours that includes two periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

(d) A driver may not take an off-duty period allowed by paragraph (c) of this section to restart the calculation of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days until 168 or more consecutive hours have passed since the beginning of the last such off-duty period. When a driver takes more than one off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours within a period of 168 consecutive hours, he or she must indicate in the Remarks section of the record of duty status which such off-duty period is being used to restart the calculation of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days.

Houston Truck Injury Attorneys Help Families Nationwide

We are privileged to represent victims of 18 wheeler wrecks around the country.  If you or a loved one has suffered injury, or if a loved one has been killed, as a result of an 18 wheeler, you may be entitled to compensation for the negligence or gross negligence of the truck driver or trucking company.

Call our 18 wheeler injury lawyers now to discuss your legal rights, for free, in a confidential consultation at 1-800-489-2216.