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Federal Limits on Truckers’ Hours on the Road

Large truckUnder many state and federal laws, an over-the-road trucker can carry a load weighing as much as 80,000 pounds. Compare that to the weight of an average automobile—now around 4,000 pounds—and it’s pretty obvious where the most damage will be done if a commercial truck collides with a car. Recognizing the serious risks that semis, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers and big rigs can pose, state and federal legislators have placed strict regulations on truckers and the companies for whom they haul freight.

One of the more common causes of trucking accidents stems from driver fatigue. Most truck drivers are paid by the load, so the more they haul, the more money they make. This can provide an incentive to spend long hours behind the wheel. As early as 1939, Congress established clear guidelines governing how much time a truck driver can spend on the road. Here is an overview of those regulations.

The Current Guidelines

Under the regulations that are in force now, a truck driver may not be behind the wheel for more than 11 hours after a 10-hour break. Once they have met this limit, they must take at least 10 hours (consecutively) off before they can drive a truck again. In addition, a trucker may not be on the road beyond 14 hours after starting a shift, even if a break has been taken. Accordingly, a trucker who starts driving at 7 a.m. will not be allowed to be on the road after 9 pm, unless he has taken 10 hours off in between.

During any seven-day period, a trucker cannot exceed 60 hours on the road, and during an eight-day period, a trucker is limited to 70 hours. A trucker who stays off the road for 60 hours consecutively can start a new work week with zero hours.

Contact Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A., Attorneys at Law

At Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A., we have more than 35 years of experience helping people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 856-429-1700. Your initial consultation is free.

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