After comedian and actor Tracy Morgan was seriously injured and another comedian was killed in a June 7 truck crash, the rules regarding hours of service and rest for truckers have gained national attention. The driver of the Wal-Mart truck that struck the limousine carrying Morgan and his associates had reportedly not slept for 24 hours.
Morgan has filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart for negligence.
According to truck safety groups, about 4,000 people are killed and 100,000 are injured each year in U.S. truck crashes. Many of these truck accidents involve driver fatigue. Hours-of-service regulations exist to keep tired truckers off the road, but some truckers say that their employers pressure them to violate the rules. In August, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined an asphalt company nearly $1 million for firing truckers who refused to violate hours-of-service regulations. The trucking industry has supported legislative efforts to suspend the rest rules.
The hours-of-service rules for truckers hauling goods are as follows:
- A driver may not drive longer than 11 hours after 10 consecutive off-duty hours.
- A driver may not drive longer than 14 consecutive hours after beginning duty, following 10 consecutive off-duty hours. (On-duty hours may include non-driving work.)
- A driver may only drive if 8 hours or less have gone by since the end of the last off-duty or sleeping period of at least 30 minutes.
- A driver may not driver after 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days. A consecutive-day period may be restarted after 34 off-duty consecutive hours, which must include two periods of home terminal time between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Only one restart is permitted per week.
People who have been injured in a truck accident may be entitled to compensation and should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about their rights.