How long can a truck driver work in a week?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2020 | motor vehicle accidents

The semi-trucks and tractor-trailers you see traveling in and around Cartersville already present a risk due to their massive sizes. The last thing you want to envision is having a drowsy truck driver operating one of them. Yet the long hours of travel required of truck drivers seemingly contributes to fatigue. Fortunately, federal lawmakers have enacted guidelines to help ensure that truckers remain alert and attentive while at the wheel. 

These guidelines include strict hours-of-service regulations that dictate when a truck driver can and cannot be behind the wheel. Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these limitations are as follows: 

  • A truck driver’s workweek cannot exceed 60-70 hours behind the wheel over 7-8 consecutive days (a break of 36 consecutive hours restarts the workweek) 
  • A truck driver cannot drive more than eight hours without taking a break of at least 30 minutes 
  • A truck driver cannot drive for more than 11 hours without taking a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off duty 
  • A truck driver cannot drive past the 14th consecutive hour after having taken 10 consecutive hours off duty 

If you are involved in an accident with a truck driver, you might wonder how you could show if the accident may have been due to driver fatigue. A truck driver’s work log may reveal those answers. Truckers are required to keep detailed records of their on-duty hours. If such records indicate that the driver did not abide by the hours-of-service regulations, then that may be a strong indicator that they may have been fatigued when your accident occurred. Conversely, if they have failed to maintain adequate records, that also may imply that they either have something to hide or place little importance on following their industry’s legal standards.