Some Georgia residents may be unaware that commercial motor vehicle drivers must comply with a set of federal regulations known as Hours of Service rules. This applies to, among others, truck drivers traveling in tractor-trailers that weigh at least 10,001 pounds or that transport enough hazardous material to require placards.
All transportation companies must ensure that their drivers are following Hours of Service rules. Pursuant to these regulations, drivers are limited to, per day, 11 hours of driving and 14 hours of work altogether. Moreover, drivers may not work more than 70 hours per week on average, and once this maximum is reached on any given week, the drivers must rest for at least 34 consecutive hours, within which must pass two nights. The Hours of Service rules also call for drivers to take a half-hour break within the first eight hours of each shift.
These new rules reduce by 15 percent the amount of hours drivers are permitted to work during the average week. Furthermore, they impose a mandatory break during a standard eight-hour shift and after a 70-hour work week that had not been required heretofore.
When individuals suffer injuries in a commercial truck accident and investigators subsequently discover that the truck driver was in violation of federal CMV regulations, then both the trucker and the trucker's employers may face more than just criminal sanctions. In fact, they might also be subjected to a civil lawsuit. To be more specific, the injured victims of the accident may file a personal injury lawsuit against those who violated the Hours of Service rules at the time of the accident, citing negligence. In all likelihood, such claimants would be represented by a personal injury lawyer familiar with both truck accidents and the federal regulations governing commercial motor vehicles.
Source: FMCSA, "Hours of Service", October 28, 2014