Federal and state regulations have comprehensively outlined requirements to keep truck drivers and other motorists safe on the roads. These rules involve driver work hours and breaks, tractor trailer maintenance and inspection, and much more.
Daily and Weekly Work Hour Limits for Truck Drivers
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that new federal regulations in 2013 to reduce truck driver fatigue. The FMCSA’s new rules regarding truck drivers’ hours-of-service are as follows:
• Average work week maximum for truck drivers limited to 70 hours
• Limit of 11 hours of daily driving
• Limit of 14-hour workday
Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed driving limits by more than three hours could be fined $11,000 for each offense, and drivers could be penalized up to $2,750. Truck drivers and trucking companies that commit major violations of the FMCSA’s new rules could face the maximum penalties.
Required Breaks for Drivers
In addition to outlining new regulations for truck drivers’ work hours the FMCSA changed the rules regarding mandatory breaks for truck drivers during their hours-of-service. These requirements are as follows:
• Required rest for 34 consecutive hours after reaching the maximum 70-hour driving within a week
• Required 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift
Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection
According to rules set by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), numerous parts of a semi-truck must follow specific vehicle equipment and inspection regulations. The following must be in safe operating condition at all times:
• Suspension components, steering components, and braking systems
• Tires and wheels
• Lighting and electrical systems
• Safety glazing in all windshields, windows, and wings
• Windshield washers, defrosters, and wipers
• Fuel and exhaust systems
• Speedometers and odometers
• Horns and warning devices
• Body and chassis
PennDOT outlines specific maintenance requirements for each of these vehicle parts as well as thorough inspection procedures to ensure vehicles comply with all of the rules.
When a Trucking Company Disregards Responsibilities
Truck drivers and trucking companies are required by law to comply with all state and federal rules. Devastating crashes all over the State of Pennsylvania have happened when a company or driver disregards the rules for the sake of a profit.
If you or a loved one was harmed in a truck crash, our investigators can find out if those responsible failed to follow the rules meant to keep you safe. Contact Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer and find out how our firm can help you.