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Are There Any Exceptions to the Hours-of-Service Regulations?

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have implemented hours-of-service regulations in an effort to reduce the number of drowsy truckers on the road. While these regulations are quite strict, there are a few exceptions.

What Is the Hours-of-Service Regulation?

The hours-of-service regulation limits the amount of time a commercial driver may drive without a break. Specifically, the hours-of-service regulation states the following:

  • Drivers must take a break of at least 30 consecutive minutes after 8 cumulative hours of driving time. Drivers are allowed to have an on-duty/not driving period qualify as the required break.

Truckers have to follow this regulation virtually all of the time. However, there are a few instances where they may drive longer than the regulation allows, including:

  • Short-haul exception: Applies to truckers driving shorter distances. Expands the short-haul exception to 150 air-miles and allows a 14-hour work shift to take place as part of the exception.
  • Adverse driving conditions exception: Applies to truckers who are delayed because of bad weather. Expands the driving window during adverse driving conditions by up to an additional 2 hours.
  • Sleeper berth provision: Allows a driver to meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement by spending at least 7 hours of that period in the berth combined with a minimum off-duty period of at least 2 hours spent inside or outside the berth.

Despite these mandates being federal law, many trucking companies coerce their truckers to violate them. This endangers not only the trucker, but also everyone around them. If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident, Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP is here to help. We have the experience and resources needed to take on large trucking companies and their insurers, and we may be able to help you.

Call Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP at (800) 900-0863 to schedule a free consultation.