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Are truck drivers' hours regulated?

Anyone working long hours without sufficient resting time in between workdays would get tired and truck drivers are no different in that respect. Many may think that since they are driving and sitting all day long, they are not bound to get as tired, but this is not the case. Just like any other occupation, fatigue can lead to a delay in assessing situations and responding slowly. However, unlike other occupations, a truck driver is operating heavy machinery that can turn deadly if not operated properly.

The Department of Transportation has established federal trucking regulations about the trucking industry and these apply in Virginia as with other states across the country. In addition to this, we have state guidelines that conform to the federal guidelines. These rules limit not only the size of the vehicle, the weight of the items being transported and conditions under which it should operate, but also the number of hours that a truck driver is supposed to operate before resting.

The hours of service rules were last updated in 2011, changing two key provisions. One change implemented was that within the first eight hours of their shift, drivers have to take a 30 minute break to ensure they remain alert on the road. The second one changed the resting period, changing how often it could be used in a week and the times during which the rest must be taken. The overall effect of these rules was to reduce the number of driving hours from 82 to 70 a week.

Unfortunately, most of our interstate commerce is carried out by trucks and therefore truck drivers are under immense pressure to drive faster for longer. When they give into this pressure and fall prey to driver fatigue, as they are likely to, they end up injuring other drivers on the road. If someone is injured in a truck accident, they may therefore be able to hold not only the truck driver responsible but also the truck company.

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