Multiple studies in recent years have shown that drowsy driving is a major cause of auto accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that at least 100,000 crashes each year result directly from driver fatigue.
While all drivers should avoid drowsy driving, the risk of a serious accident may be significantly higher when a truck or bus driver is sleepy while behind the wheel. That is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, regulates truck and bus drivers’ hours of service and requires those drivers to log their hours.
There are some slight differences in the hours-of-service limits for truck drivers and bus drivers. The FMCSA categorizes truck drivers as property-carrying drivers and bus drivers as passenger-carrying drivers.
Property-carrying drivers are allowed to operate their vehicles for no more than 11 hours after an off-duty period of 10 consecutive hours. The driving limit for passenger-carrying vehicles is 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.
Truck and bus drivers’ jobs also require them to be on duty when they aren’t behind the wheel, whether for vehicle maintenance or some other reason. FMCSA regulations take this into account.
Truck drivers are not allowed to drive once they reach the 14th consecutive hour on the job after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and bus drivers are not allowed to drive once they reach the 15th consecutive hour on the job after eight consecutive hours off duty.
Unfortunately, these rules are often broken, and there have been many cases of truck and bus drivers falsifying their hours-of-service logs.
To learn more about these matters and what to do after a collision with a large commercial vehicle, please see MHK Attorneys’ “Five Things You Need To Know About Truck Accidents.”