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How much rest does a truck driver need to take?

Driver fatigue is a dangerous problem, especially for truck drivers operating large and heavy semitrucks. Because catastrophic injuries and death can happen as a result of a semitruck crash -- and because sleepy drivers are the cause of many such accidents -- the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces strict guidelines to ensure that truckers get enough sleep.

Here are the FMCSA guidelines as they relate to truck driver rest times for truckers carrying property and not passengers:

-- Following 10 consecutive hours of rest, truckers can drive for a maximum period of 11 hours.

-- Under no circumstances can an operator drive one's truck for over 14 consecutive hours.

-- Truckers can only drive a maximum of eight hours before taking a mandatory 30-minute rest time in their sleeper berths. This rule doesn't apply to operators who qualify for the short-haul exemption.

-- Following at least 34 hours of consecutive rest time, drivers cannot operate their trucks more than 60/70 hours over a 7/8-day consecutive work period.

-- Sleeper berth time must be used for eight hours per day. This time can be split across two periods of time as long as neither are below two hours.

Were you injured in a commercial truck accident? It's possible that your crash was caused by a fatigued truck driver, which could be a suitable basis for a personal injury action to seek financial damages. If a trucker violated the above FMCSA, it could serve as sufficient evidence to prove that the trucker was fatigued.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Hours of Service," accessed June 16, 2017

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