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A Closer Look at DOT Regulations in the Trucking Industry

This blog recently discussed the rule proposed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to ban texting while driving for all interstate commercial truck drivers and bus drivers. The rationale behind this rule is obviously to prevent horrific and potentially fatal truck accidents.

What about other measures that DOT has in place to protect motorists against truck accidents that may not be so obvious to the average person?

Here, the blog will briefly examine the hours-of-service regulations as they relate to the daily driving routines of those in the commercial trucking industry.

According to DOT, hours-of-service regulations are “designed to continue the downward trend in truck fatalities and maintain motor carrier operational efficiencies.” In other words, they are designed to prevent truck accidents.

Anyone who drives a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is obligated to follow the hours-of-service regulations. A CMV is generally defined as any vehicle that is utilized in interstate commerce and weighs at least 10,001 pounds.

CMV operators are bound by the following hours-of-service regulations:

• They have up to 14 consecutive hours of duty time. The period begins once any type of work is commenced. When the 14 hours are up, no driving is permitted for 10 consecutive hours.

• During the above-mentioned 14 hours, CMV operators are only allowed to drive for 11 hours total. Once this total has been reached, a break of 10 consecutive hours must be taken.

For example, if a CMV operator begins their shift at 10am, they have until 12 pm (14 hours) to complete their allotted 11 hours of driving. If they drive from 10am to 9pm, they will have to take a 10-hour break. The same result if they drive from 1pm to 12pm.

The blog will revisit the topic of hours-of-service regulations in future postings.

Related Resources:
U.S. Department of Transportation: Hours-of-service regulations (DOT)

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