Driving a truck is not the easiest job, but it is one that you enjoy. Being on the road has given you a chance to make an excellent livelihood and to see a bit of the country. The long hours, constant time away from your family, and many other sacrifices you have had to make are worth it. You expect your employer to treat you fairly, and you expect them to obey the law. Although there are times when business is especially hectic and you are pushed to meet certain goals, this should never be done at the cost of your health and safety. And you should never have to choose between your job and your well-being.
If you are in an accident because of fatigue and tiredness caused by overwork, then you should hold your employer accountable. You will need legal help for a truck accident, and you can get it through lawyers who specialize in this field.
Federal Truck Driver Sleep Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set out clear rules and regulations to reduce fatigue-related traffic collisions. If you felt pressured by your employer to meet unrealistic scheduling expectations, then your employer is responsible for your injuries and those suffered by others in the crash.
As a truck driver, you no doubt have an intuitive understanding of fatigue. It is the feeling you have when worn down and sleepy. It comes with tremendous risks and is responsible for thousands of crashes and hundreds of deaths a year. The FMCSA has established hours of sleep regulations designed to keep tired drivers off the road and you are expected to follow them. Here are some of the limits:
1. 14-hour driving window
A trucker can drive up to 11 hours within a period of 14 consecutive hours after they have been off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The window starts the moment the driver comes off their rest break. Other off duty time, including naps and lunch breaks, do not stop the clock on the 14-hour window.
2. 30-minute rest break
A driver must take a 30-minute rest break if they have been on the road for more than 8 consecutive hours. This can consist of a break for a meal or a nap, and it does not count against the 14-hour driving window.
3. 60/70-hour duty limit
This is referred to as the weekly limit. These time limits are not based on any set day of the week. It is the total hours during a 7-or-8-day period that must be complied with. If you have worked 60 or 70 hours in a week, you must have 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. The clock starts again after you have taken this time off.