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Hours of service violations and truck driver fatigue

As previous posts have highlighted, federal trucking regulations have been passed to address safety concerns regarding large trucks that travel on roadways in Iowa and states across the nation. Additionally, these regulations provide mechanisms to ensure that trucking companies and truck drivers comply with certain safety standards. Even though the violation of these rules could subject the driver and company to fines and other penalties, certain rules get violated frequently, causing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to consider ways to better enforce these rules.

The hours of service rule a critical safety rule. Despite that, the FMCSA maintains that the "30 minute rule" included in the federal hours-of-service rules is frequently violated. This rule provides that a commercial truck driver must take a 30 minute break after driving for eight consecutive hours. The FMCSA reported that this rule is the fourth most frequently violated rule out of the 40 different types of driver violations that it tracks.

In the last fiscal year, which began October 1, 2013 and ended September 30, 2014, there were 72,418 violations of the "30 minute rule" nationwide. Additionally, FMCSA data suggests that there were 31,426 violations for driving beyond a 14-hour duty period, as well as 16,875 violations for driving beyond 11 consecutive hours.

Because fatigued driving is a serious situation, these regulations are the most effective way to control the situation. However, when truck drivers violate this and other federal trucking regulations, it increases the chances of a truck accident.

Those harmed in a truck accident should consider possible causes such as hours of service violations. If a truck driver violated the "30 minute rule" or other driving regulations, this could help prove liability. An injured party might be able to hold the truck driver and trucking company responsible for the damages arising from the incident through a personal injury claim.

Source: DCVelocity.com, "Violations of "30-minute rule" most prevalent in first year of HOS regime," Mark B. Solomon, Accessed on Aug. 31, 2015

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