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How long can truckers stay behind the wheel?

Readers of this blog probably know that though there are certain things they can do to keep themselves safe from truck accidents, these tragic wrecks continue to occur. Therefore, laws and regulations have been implemented in an effort to curtail dangerous truck driving. One way to do so is to put restrictions on trucking hours.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, those who drive vehicles carrying property are allowed to drive 11 hours so long as they have spent the previous 10 hours resting or, in other words, doing anything other than driving. However, this 11 hour period can be stretched over a 14 hour period since a driver goes on duty. Additionally, regulations indicate that a driver must take a break every eight hours. These regulations are meant to ensure commercial drivers are fresh and alert while behind the wheel.

Unfortunately though, regulations allow truck drivers to operate a semi-truck for up to 70 hours over the course of eight days, or 60 hours in a seven day period. This is a lot of driving in a relatively short period of time. This means that other motorists are often put at risk of being harmed by tired and inattentive truckers. When a big rig accident occurs, victims can be left with serious injuries that could have a prolonged effect on their well-being and quality of life.

Massachusetts residents who are harmed in a collision should consider what legal remedies they may have. If another driver's negligence or recklessness caused the accident, then a successful lawsuit may bring a victim monetary awards for their losses, including medical costs and lost wages. It is hoped that taking this action will not only allow an individual to focus on regaining his or her health, but also bring attention to the dangers of fatigued driving.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Summary of Hours of Service Regulations," accessed on March 22, 2015

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