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Are there exceptions to hours-of-service regulations?

| Jul 30, 2020 | Truck Accidents |

Past posts on this blog touch upon the dangers posed by fatigued and drowsy driving, while others detail the efforts of federal lawmakers to curb such problems among truck drivers by establishing hours-of-service regulations. Yet as is the case with many guidelines and standards, there are exceptions to these rules.

Those drivers that may be at the greatest risk for suffering fatigue behind the wheel (and thus becoming a danger to you and others on Allenhurst’s roads) are usually those who make interstate deliveries. Regulators understand that truckers not required to make such long trips may not be subject to the same pressures. Therefore, they are not held to the same standards.

The short-haul exception

Indeed, according to information shared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, if a truck driver returns to their point of origin on the same day for a period of five consecutive days, they may extend the standard 14-hour work window to 16 hours. This is “the short-haul exception.” However, if the driver that caused your truck accident tries to cite it as a defense against drowsy driving, you should know that this benefit is only extended to them once every 7-day work week (twice a week for non-CDL drivers).

Hours-of-service suspensions

There are scenarios where the federal government may suspend hours-of-service regulations altogether. This is typically only done, however, in cases where the services truck drivers provide must increase to meet and increased demand, such as during a local or national emergency to combat a seasonal need (transporting propane for heaters during the winter being an example of this). Work logs are also not required in cases where a driver does not travel more than 100 air-miles away from their point of origin.

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