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Trucker fatigue and risks on the road

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2020 | Truck Accidents

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the number of fatalities from large truck crashes in Georgia increased every year for three consecutive years between 2014 and 2017.

In 2014, the state recorded 155 such deaths. That figure rose first to 182 the following year, then to 203 in 2016 and then to 228 in 2017. Fortunately, 2018 saw a decline in large truck accident deaths to 187, but that still remains higher than in 2014.

Fatigue among truckers a known risk

Many factors may contribute to a crash involving a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle. Mechanical failures, driver impairment and more may result in serious truck accidents. Truckers may also experience significant fatigue which can increase the chance of an accident.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acknowledges the risk caused by trucker fatigue and developed the Hours of Service rule. This rule outlines the maximum number of hours that a trucker can work and drive. The regulation provides guidance for individual workdays as well as for complete work weeks.

Key elements of the Hours of Service rule

A truck driver who carries goods may work a total of 14 hours in one day. However, the trucker may only drive for 10 of the 14 hours worked in one day. After working for eight hours, a trucker must be off duty for 30 minutes or longer before resuming work.

A trucker may work seven or eight days in a row. If working seven consecutive days, they can log up to 60 hours and if working eight consecutive days, they can log up to 70 hours.