Carolina Tractor-Trailer Accidents: New Limits on Truck Driver Hours

According to an article from Safety and Health Magazine, the hours a truck driver may spend on the road are being reduced.


Our Spartanburg personal injury attorneys know that a tired truck driver controlling an 80,000 pound vehicle can have disastrous results.

The average employee in the United States works 40 hours per week. In contrast, truck drivers may frequently work almost double that amount.

The amount of time a truck driver is allowed to work during the week is at the focus of a debate over the latest changes to the newest Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.

New regulations established in December 2011 went into effect on the first of July. The regulations require truck drivers to utilize a 30 minute break at some point during their workday.

In addition, truck drivers are now limited in their ability to reset their driving hours to only for every seven day period. Truckers are now also required to take a 34 hour break which includes a minimum of two rest periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

It is clear that with these new regulations safety is the highest priority. The rules are meant to make commonsense changes in an effort to stop truck drivers from driving vehicles while tired.

This will result in an overall improvement in the safety of every driver using the roads and highways.

Although everyone is in favor of more safety many industry stakeholders are not in favor of the new regulations.

A survey showed that about three quarters of all truck drivers felt the 34 hour off-time provision combined with the requirement to sleep at night will have a major or moderate impact on the way they conduct operations.

The same survey also showed that the changes would force carriers to drive during more congested time periods. Truckers feel that this could actually cause more danger for themselves and others on the road.

Others feel that the new regulations do not do enough to prevent truck drivers from working while fatigued.

According to research, a trucker’s fatigue reaches a level that substantially affects their ability to operate a vehicle safely after they have been driving for 8 hours.

The current regulations allow for 11 hours of driving per day which some say will lead to substantially more accidents.

Advocates of increased regulation feel that the ability of truck drivers to reset their weekly driving limit is problematic and dangerous. The major issue is that more than 34 hours is required to allow a driver to fully recuperate on a weekly basis.

If a driver loses concentration for even one second of their 11 hour work day on the road the results could be disastrous. The stakes are very high.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury, contact Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation with our North and South Carolina attorneys. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Posts:

Rubbernecking on Carolina Roads Causes Additional Traffic Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Blog, October 25, 2013.

Multitude of Bus Accidents in the Carolinas and Elsewhere, North Carolina Personal Injury Blog, October 21, 2013.

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