Have you ever wondered, “How many hours can truckers drive?” Truck drivers cannot drive as long as they want. Instead, state and federal hours of service regulations limit their hours on duty when on the road and when they need to take breaks. Truck drivers in West Virginia who violate these hours-of-service rules may face severe penalties because doing so puts themselves and others at risk of a life-altering truck accident. 

How Many Hours a Day Can a Truck Driver Drive?

State and federal regulations limit how many hours a day a truck driver can drive for their shift. The regulations also limit the hours drivers may spend on duty per day and per week. Truck driver hours of service rules reduce the risk of drivers becoming tired behind the wheel and causing devastating truck accidents. Truckers must log their hours on duty, driving, and on break to record their compliance with the hours-of-service rules.

Understanding Hours of Service Rules

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published hours of service rules for commercial drivers. Here are some of the key provisions of these rules:

  • Truckers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after spending an off-duty period of at least 10 consecutive hours.
  • Truckers may not drive after the 14th consecutive hour on duty following an off-duty period of at least 10 consecutive hours.
  • Truckers may extend the 11- and 14-hour restrictions by up to two hours when encountering adverse driving conditions. 
  • Truckers must take a break of at least 30 minutes after driving for eight hours since the driver’s last break or off-duty period. 
  • Truckers may not drive after spending 60 hours on duty in a seven-day period or 70 hours on duty in an eight-day period. The seven/eight-day periods reset after an off-duty period of at least 34 consecutive hours. 

The hours-of-service rules do not apply to truck drivers who operate within a 150-air-mile radius of their work reporting location, spend no more than 14 hours on duty, and return to their work reporting location at the end of their shift. 

If a trucking company forces its drivers to break these rules and an accident results, the company could be liable for damages.

Truck Driver Fatigue Accident Statistics

A study conducted by the FMCSA found that about 13 percent of serious commercial vehicle accidents involved a fatigued commercial driver. The FMCSA subsequently revised the hours-of-service rules to account for their findings. An analysis conducted after the change found that the revised rules prevented about 1,400 crashes per year, resulting in 19 fewer fatalities and 560 fewer cases of injury. 

Contact Our West Virginia Truck Accident Lawyers for Help

If you’ve been hurt in a commercial motor vehicle accident caused by a fatigued trucker, you deserve financial recovery and justice for what you’ve suffered. Let Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, pursue compensation for your medical bills, car repairs, lost income, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced West Virginia truck accident lawyers.

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