What are the federal “hours of service” rules and why do they matter to truck accident victims?

Truck safety is an issue that everybody should be concerned about, because all of us are potentially at risk when truck drivers and employers are careless with matters of safety. While there are a number of safety regulations the trucking industry is bound by, increased attention has been given in recent years to the so-called hours of service rules.

The hours of service rules, which are administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, are aimed at ensuring truck drivers have adequate rest while they are behind the wheel. Driver fatigue is, of course, a serious issue in trucking safety given the damage that can result when a multi-ton vehicle loses control on the highway, especially in proximity to other motorists. 

The hours of service rules differ slightly depending on whether a trucker is hauling property or passengers. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll take a brief look at the rules applying to property-carrying drivers. The rules can be summarized as follows:  

  • No more than 11 hours of driving on any given day after 10 consecutive hours off duty;
  • No driving at all after 14 hours on duty;
  • Required 30 minute rest break after eight hours on duty;
  • No driving at all after 60/70 hours on duty over 7/8 consecutive days. A trucker is able to restart the workweek by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off duty.
  • Drivers who choose to make use of a sleeper berth are required to take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, as well as a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or a combination of the two.

These rules differ slightly for passenger-carrying drivers. In either case, truckers are required to record compliance with the rules in accordance with federal regulations, and employers are expected to ensure the compliance of their drivers. In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this topic, and how the hours-of-service rules can come into play in truck accident litigation

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case...

Learn More
  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
  • ABA
  • Trial Lawyers Association Of Metropolitan Washington D.C | Working For Justice
  • Maryland Association For Justice
  • American Association For Justice
  • MSBA

Call Or Email For A Free Consultation

If you have suffered a personal injury in a car crash or other accident, need help with another type of dispute, we are prepared to help. Contact our lawyer online or call 877-234-4179 to schedule an initial consultation. There is no cost or obligation to contact us. Se habla español. For your convenience, we have offices in Washington D.C., Rockville, Greenbelt and Fairfax.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Rockville Office
200-A Monroe St.
Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20850

Toll Free: 877-234-4179
Phone: 301-637-8078
Fax: 301-251-0730
Map & Directions

Rockville Office

Washington D.C. Office
1150 Seventeenth St. NW
Suite 305
Washington, D.C. 20036

Toll Free: 877-234-4179
Phone: 301-637-8078
Fax: 301-251-0730
Map & Directions

Washington Office

Capital Office Park
6305 Ivy Lane
Suite 408
Greenbelt, MD 20770

Toll Free: 877-234-4179
Phone: 301-637-8078
Fax: 301-251-0730
Map & Directions

Greenbelt Office

Fairfax Office
10521 Judicial Dr.
Suite 303
Fairfax, VA 22030

Toll Free: 877-234-4179
Phone: 703-722-6446
Fax: 301-251-0730
Map & Directions

Fairfax Office
  • Toll Free 877-234-4179
  • Maryland/D.C. 301-637-8078
  • Virginia 703-722-6446
  • Fax 301-251-0730
Back To Top