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Hours of Service Violation Penalties

Hours of service regulations help protect the safety of truck drivers and all those who share the road with them. Set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), these rules limit the amount of time truck drivers can spend behind the wheel and mandate rest periods to prevent fatigue-related accidents. When truck drivers or their employers violate these regulations, they not only put themselves at risk but also endanger the lives of countless others on the highway.

hours of service regulations

What Are Hours of Service Regulations?

When truck drivers need to stick to tight schedules or drive long distances, it can be tempting to keep moving, even when they are tired. However, drowsy driving can lead to serious errors and devastating accidents.

To promote safe driving practices among commercial vehicle operators, the FMCSA mandates the following:

  • Drivers are required to take a break of at least 30 minutes after 8 hours of driving.
  • Drivers cannot be on duty for more than 14 consecutive hours, after which they must take a mandatory 10-hour break.
  • Within this 14-hour window, drivers can operate their vehicles for a maximum of 11 hours after taking the mandatory 10-hour break.
  • Drivers are limited to a maximum of 60 hours on duty in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period.

Potential FMCSA Penalties for Hours of Service Violations

When truck drivers violate hours of service regulations, they face a range of potential penalties from the FMCSA. Law enforcement officers who discover a violation have the authority to immediately place the driver out of service, forcing them to stop driving until they have completed the required rest period.

In addition to being placed out of service, drivers who violate hours of service rules may face substantial fines and fees. Depending on the severity of the violation, these fines can range from $1,000 to more than $16,000 per incident.

Liability for Accidents Caused by Hours of Service Violations

Beyond the penalties imposed by the FMCSA, truck drivers and their employers may also face civil liability for accidents caused by hours of service violations. When a fatigued truck driver causes an accident, the injured parties have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit and seek compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

In some cases, the truck driver may be held personally liable for the accident, especially if they knowingly violated hours of service regulations or falsified their logbooks to conceal the violation. However, trucking companies may also share liability for accidents caused by their drivers’ violations. If a company pressures its drivers to meet unrealistic delivery deadlines or fails to monitor their compliance with these important rules, they may be held accountable for any resulting accidents.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney at Colburn Law Today

Hours of service violations put everyone on the road at risk. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a truck driver who violated these regulations, a Seattle truck wreck attorney at Colburn Law can fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (206) 919-3215 for a free consultation and let us help you seek justice.