Those people seen driving the many semi-trucks that are so often seen on Vero Beach’s roads are highly trained professionals. The demands that come with operating such massive vehicles require that they be. Yet even the driving skills that truck drivers develop, truck accidents continue to be a problem. Indeed, information shared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that as recently as 2017, commercial vehicles were reported to be involved in 363,000 accidents that resulted in property damage, 107,000 collisions that produced injuries, and 4,657 accidents that resulted in fatalities.
Driver fatigue is often cited as one of the common causes of truck accidents. Long hours on the road can easily contribute to truck drivers becoming drowsy. To prevent the potential of having drowsy truck drivers on the country’s roads, federal lawmakers have established hours-of-service regulations that determine when and for how long truck drivers can work. According to the FMCSA, these are:
- A driver can only drive for up to 11 hours before being required to take 10 consecutive hours off
- A driver cannot drive past the fourteenth hour after having returned from a 10-hour off-duty period
- Truck drivers can only drive up to 60-70 hours in a 7-8 day workweek (taking 36 consecutive hours off duty re-starts a workweek)
- A driver cannot drive for more than eight consecutive hours without taking a break of at least 30 minutes
Some might wonder how adherence to these regulations is enforced. Truck drivers are required to maintain detailed logs of their hours worked. After having been involved in an accident, a review of these records may reveal that a driver’s failure to follow the regulations might have caused them to become fatigued behind the wheel.