New federal hours-of-service rules aimed at preventing drowsy driving by truckers went into effect July 1.

Under the rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truckers must take at least a 30-minute break after eight consecutive hours of driving. In addition, truckers can drive 11 hours within 14 straight hours on duty. However, after 11 hours, a trucker cannot operate the vehicle for 10 consecutive hours.

Also, truck drivers must also observe a new weekly limit. In the past, truckers were allowed to drive up to 82 hours within a seven-day period of time. The new rules limit drivers to 60 hours over a seven-day period or 70 hours over eight days.

Furthermore, the new rules have what’s called the 34-hour restart. This means that truck drivers can start new weeks on the road only after they have had 34 consecutive hours off. The restart period must also include at least two off-duty periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Truck companies and drivers that ignore the new rules could be fined thousands of dollars. Exceeding the 11-hour driving limit by three hours or more may result in an $11,000 penalty per offense.

The rules are designed to ensure truckers are more rested and alert. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hopes the changes will make roadways across the nation safer for all drivers.

Need Legal Help?

Truck accidents can cause devastating injuries or death due to the vehicles’ size and weight. That’s why it is important for truckers to observe the hours-of-service rules and remain aware of the road at all times.

However, careless truck drivers still cause accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a South Carolina truck accident because of a trucker’s negligence, contact our South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm. Call 855-565-3563 or use our online form so our attorneys can offer you advice about your rights.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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