Trucking Accidents and Fatigued Drivers

The many semi-trucks trucks you see driving in and around Clarksville can be quite intimidating. You can only imagine how more frightened you might be at the site of one if you knew the driver operating it was going on several hours without any rest. 

Most understand that laws are in place which regulate the amount of time a truck driver can be behind the wheel. Yet after experiencing a truck accident caused by a fatigued driver, the last thing you want to learn is that they were not bound by those regulations at the time. 

Standard hours of service regulations 

This prompts the question of whether there are exceptions to the rules that dictate how long a trucker may work. The guidelines governing hours of service for truckers say that they can only drive up to 11 hours in a single shift (and that they only have 14 hours to complete that shift before needing to take multiple hours off duty). They also mandate that no truck driver work more than 60-70 hours a week. However, you should also know that these rules do not apply to those driving trucks with a gross vehicular weight under 10,001 pounds. This means that many non-CDL drivers may not be bound by them. 

Special hours of service exceptions 

There are also special exceptions to federal hours of service regulations. According to information shared by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the more common of these include: 

  • Drivers that start and begin their day from the same location for five consecutive days (they can extend the time to complete a shift to 16 hours) 
  • Drivers on the road fewer than eight days every month  
  • Drivers operating in adverse weather conditions (they can drive up to 13 hours in a shift) 

Federal lawmakers might also suspend regulations during a time of national emergency.