As Louisiana residents hurry to and from their destinations on the road, they may see trucks rushing by them on the highways. The trucking industry is tightly regulated by both federal and state regulation, but truck drivers are often still pressured into driving longer hours for longer distances, becoming a hazard for both themselves and others on the road. A tired, distracted and drowsy truck driver is dangerous on the road and laws exist to ensure a truck that is used to transport necessary materials across state lines, not to become a weapon that weighs thousands of pounds.
A truck driver carrying property can drive 11 hours maximum after taking 10 consecutive hours off duty, whereas a driver transporting passengers may drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight consecutive hours of rest. A driver transporting property may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour when they come on duty after 10 consecutive hours off duty. The 14-hour period is not extended by an off-duty period. When it comes to a driver transporting passengers, he or she may not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours after they have been off for eight consecutive off-duty hours.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also regulates rest breaks. A driver of transport may drive only if eight hours or less have passed since the end of the driver’s off duty. Additionally, the driver cannot drive for 60 consecutive hours in seven days or 70 consecutive hours in eight consecutive days. Thirty-four hours of off-duty must have passed before the next period can be restarted. There are separate provisions for sleeper berths as well.
Though laws exist to regulate the trucking industry, the reality is that truck accidents due to fatigue or drowsiness take place on a daily basis causing fatalities that wreak havoc. Truck crash victims may not be aware that they can hold not only truck drivers accountable for their distracted driving, but also the trucking company that was supposed to ensure they follow the law. An experienced attorney should be able to guide victims through their options.