The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA regulates commercial vehicles using public highways. They have the Hours of Service or HOS regulations to guarantee the safety of all road users. This is because driving commercial vehicles for prolonged periods is dangerous to drivers and the general public.
HOS regulations minimize fatigue in commercial vehicle drivers. When signing a contract, it is prudent to have trucking attorneys in Washington scrutinize it to ensure that it meets these regulations. Here are the three primary HOS laws for trucks:
14-Hour Daily Limit
Currently, truck drivers are legally allowed to work for not more than 14 consecutive hours. They should drive for only a maximum of 11 hours a day. Once you finish your 14-hour shift, you are not allowed to drive until after ten consecutive off-duty hours.
During your driving shift, you should be allowed a thirty-minute break in the first eight hours. During the break, you can perform any off-duty activities you desire. If you drive continuously for the first eight hours, you should take this 30-minute break before starting your ninth hour. The breaks are included in your 14-hour driving period.
Weekly Maximum Driving Hours
Truck drivers have a legally-allowed maximum driving limit weekly. The limit depends on whether the trucking company operates daily. If your company has truck runs every day, you are allowed an eight-day/70-hour schedule. This means that you can work for only 70 hours for eight consecutive days. For companies that do not have daily runs, drivers are allowed 60 hours for seven straight days. After exhausting your weekly maximum driving hours, you should have a 34-hour off-duty period.
Provided your contract covers the above rules, do not take a risk and break them. Violation of these regulations may result in an out-of-service penalty for a specific period and accident causation. Make sure that you understand the regulations to avoid jeopardizing your career.