Drowsy driving is a safety hazard on New Jersey roads, especially when it comes to semi-trucks. After all, in a truck accident between an 80,000-pound semi-truck and a 2,000-pound automobile, the laws of physics generally mean that the automobile and its occupants will come off worse for wear. Because of these dangers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued hours of service regulations that dictate how long a semi-truck driver may be on the road before taking a rest break.
For example, property-carrying drivers can only drive up to 11 hours after having been off-duty for at least 10 hours in a row. In addition, these drivers cannot operate their vehicles more than 14 hours after the 10-hour consecutive rest break. Also, semi-truck drivers can only drive up to eight hours after taking a 30-minute rest break or sleeper berth period.
In addition, property-carrying drivers cannot operate their vehicles after being on duty for 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. After these time periods have passed, the driver must spend at least 34 hours off duty in a row. Finally, if a semi-truck driver is using the sleeper berth in their vehicle to rest, they must do so for a minimum of eight hours in a row in addition to spending two hours in a row either off-duty, in the berth or any combination of the two.
These regulations are in place to avoid drowsy driving that could lead to a truck accident. Unfortunately, there will always be drivers that ignore these regulations and drive too many hours without taking a rest break. If a fatigued truck driver causes a crash that injures another person, the crash victim may want to determine if they can pursue a personal injury claim. Doing so may provide the victim with the financial resources they need to cope with medical expenses, lost wages and other damages they suffered in the crash.