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Commercial drivers have service hour restrictions

Florida residents are likely well aware by now of the dangers presented by commercial truck accidents. This blog has described the reasons that these vehicles can cause catastrophic injury to other drivers, due to their size, weight and the speed at which they travel the highways. Because this is understood, but we also know that such vehicles are indispensable to the state, and the nation's, economic well-being, the government takes steps to attempt to minimize the dangers of commercial vehicles by regulating several aspects of their operation.

As we have pointed out previously, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMSA) is the entity responsible for promulgating such regulations to help make the roads safer. We have touched on some of these rules, such as the drug testing required of drivers. Another set of regulations that is very important in the fight to prevent commercial vehicle accidents is the set that controls hours of service.

These rules apply to commercial drivers with regard to when, and how long they are allowed to drive. For this piece, we will focus on drivers carrying property, rather than those carrying people. These drivers are limited by regulation to 11 hours of driving after a 10-hour period of consecutive off-duty time, and in no instance can they drive after they have been on-duty for 14 straight hours. Further, they may not drive more than 8 hours without having a 30-mnute break of off-duty or sleeper berth time. Finally, they may not drive after having been on duty for 60 hours in a 7-day period or 70 hours in an 8-day period. This period is 'reset' by 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty.

While both Florida truck drivers and their employers face penalties for violating these rules, there are still those that break them, either out of ignorance or as a shortcut to greater profits. It is important to realize that any driver who is in violation of such rules who causes a commercial vehicle accident, may be liable for injuries and other damage caused thereby.

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