Fatigue from hours spent on the road can affect anybody, and no one understands this better than Alaskan truck drivers. The state’s long expanses of lonely highways make falling asleep at the wheel far too easy to do, with devastating consequences. Unfortunately, when a truck driver’s livelihood depends on his ability to remain awake for long periods of time, he’s sometimes tempted to push himself too far. That’s why there are laws governing the length of time a driver is permitted to operate his vehicle without rest.
Summary of Hours of Service Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Association has established the following regulations for truck drivers hauling cargo:
- 11-Hour Limit. A trucker may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- 14-Hour Limit. A trucker may not exceed 14 consecutive hours of driving after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive off-duty hours. Off-duty time cannot extend the 14-hour period.
- Rest Breaks. A trucker may drive only if eight hours or less have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least half an hour.
- 60/70-Hour Limit. A trucker may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. The driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 consecutive hours or more off duty.
- Sleeper Berth. Drivers must take at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
Navigating Alaska’s isolated freeways can be lonely work, but truck drivers have a responsibility to remain awake and alert at all times. Driving while drowsy is always dangerous, and this risk is compounded when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds.
You Need an Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident with a truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel, you deserve compensation. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by clicking the Live Chat button on this page.