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What federal rules address trucker fatigue?

If you have ever wondered how a commercial truck driver manages to drive many long and lonely hours without getting tired, you are not alone. Driving any vehicle while tired may increase a person’s risk of having an accident either due to slowed reaction times, poor judgement or even having been completely asleep. When operating a big rig, drivers must exercise exceptional caution and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has rules in place for this purpose.

The FMCSA’s Hours of Service rule outlines the maximum number of working and driving hours a driver may log each day and each work week. The rule also provides provisions for when breaks must be taken and for how long a break must last. One set of times is stipulated for drivers who transport goods and another set of times is stipulated for drivers who transport passengers.

A corollary to the HoS rule is the Electronic Logging Device rule. This regulation requires trucks to be equipped with devices that collect essential operating and driving data to monitor and ensure compliance with the Hours of Service rule. ELDs report on vehicle idle time, drive time and more. They are designed to prevent their records from being tampered with in an effort to get around the HoS rule.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give people an overview of the regulations by which commercial truck drivers and commercial trucking companies are bound when it comes to preventing fatigue among truckers to improve safety on the road for all.