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Are there regulations on how long truckers may drive?

While driving down a Texas highway, a motorist may see a variety of different vehicles. From small hybrid automobiles that barely make a sound as they pass to massive semis and 18-wheelers that take up every inch of their lanes, individuals must be prepared for whatever comes their way. While any tired driver can be a threat to a person on the road, truck drivers and their massive rigs are particularly hazardous when those drivers do not have enough sleep to stay alert.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recognized the importance of rest for truck drivers, primarily because a tired truck driver may not be able to maintain control over their vehicle. And, because trucks are so big and can cause so much devastation when they are involved in vehicle accidents, the FMCSA has promulgated rules regarding when truck drivers must take breaks to sleep.

These hours of service rules allow drivers to have a 14-hour driving window. During that window, a driver may operate their rig for up to 11 hours. Once the 14-hour window has closed, the driver may not begin operating their rig again until 10 hours have passed.

There are also rules that dictate where a driver must take their periods of rest and time off, such as if they may be in their sleeping berths or other parts of their trucks. Drivers must also record their driving and break times in a log. These logs can provide important information if the drivers and their trucks are involved in crashes and exhaustion is suspected as a cause for the collisions.

Many truck drivers are safe and responsible individuals who take their duties seriously. However, just like anyone else, a truck driver may operate longer than is safe and when they are tired. The FMCSA rules discussed herein are intended to keep everyone on the road safe and out of the way of harm from truck accidents.

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