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What trucks are subject to hours of service regulations?

Of all the accidents that occur on Massachusetts roads, those involving commercial trucks have the most potential to lead to death or catastrophic injury. They are also among the accidents most likely to lead to complex litigation.

Realizing that semi-trucks are large and take additional time and space to slow down and stop safely, federal regulators have implemented rules in an attempt to keep motorists safe. One important aspect of these regulations is hours of service. Under federal rules, truckers can only operate their vehicles for certain periods of time without a short break or sleep. This, it is hoped, will prevent trucker fatigue and reduce the number of truck accidents.

But are all trucks subject to federal hours of service? Not necessarily. Under the regulation, only commercial motor vehicles are subject to the restrictions. A commercial motor vehicle is a vehicle that is used in business, operates in interstate commerce, and fits a certain category as to size or what it is transporting.

Tragically though, the harm associated with a truck accident has little regard for rules and regulations. And those who are severely injured in these wrecks may feel as if the regulations failed to keep them safe. While this may be true to a certain extent, these regulations, and a trucker's failure to abide by them, may serve as strong evidence for negligence, thereby allowing an accident victim to potentially recover significant compensation for his or her losses. Being an emotional and confusing time, victims of truck accidents may wish to discuss the matter with a legal professional.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Hours of Service," accessed on July 24, 2015

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