Legal Commentary: Truck driver fatigue is one of the most dangerous aspects of highway safety because trucks travel long distances over long periods of time. One of the areas of regulation with regard to driver fatigue is the number of hours allowed when a vehicle is carrying passengers.
These provisions set forth the number of consecutive hours that a driver is permitted to drive and the number of hours in any consecutive 7-day or 8-day period. In addition, there are stringent rules with regard to the recordkeeping and driver duty logs to ensure compliance with the hour restrictions.
Since driver fatigue is a major factor in serious tractor-trailer accidents, one area of evaluation in litigation concerns the driver’s and motor carrier’s records with regard to duty status and the hours worked. It is also often necessary to interview witnesses under oath in interrogatories or deposition to determine whether the records actually reflect what occurred prior to the accident and whether the driver or motor carrier was in compliance with all applicable regulations.
To fully investigate and litigate a semi-truck case, injured victims should consult with and experience tractor-trailer accident lawyer. To start this process, please contact Gwinnett County truck accident lawyer Charles Scholle – he will evaluate your case free of charge and in confidence. You can reach us by calling our offices in Atlanta contacting our office online or at 770-717-5100 or toll-free at 866-972-5287. We are located in the Atlanta Metro area with offices in Duluth, Perimeter, Midtown and Decatur, Georgia.§ 395.5 Maximum Driving Time for Passenger-Carrying Vehicles
Subject to the exceptions and exemptions in §395.1:
- No motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle:
- More than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty; or
- For any period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.
- No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, for any period after—
- Having been on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or
- Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.
(a) Except for a private motor carrier of passengers (non-business), every motor carrier shall require every driver used by the motor carrier to record his/her duty status for each 24 hour period using the methods prescribed in either paragraph (a)(1) or (2) of this section.
- Every driver who operates a commercial motor vehicle shall record his/her duty status, in duplicate, for each 24-hour period. The duty status time shall be recorded on a specified grid, as shown in paragraph (g) of this section. The grid and the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section may be combined with any company forms. The previously approved format of the Daily Log, Form MCS-59 or the Multi-day Log, MCS-139 and 139A, which meets the requirements of this section, may continue to be used.
- Every driver who operates a commercial motor vehicle shall record his/her duty status by using an automatic on-board recording device that meets the requirements of §395.15 of this part. The requirements of § 395.8 shall not apply, except paragraphs (e) and (k) (1) and (2) of this section.
(b) The duty status shall be recorded as follows:
- “Off duty” or “OFF.”
- “Sleeper berth” or “SB” (only if a sleeper berth used).
- “Driving” or “D.”
- “On-duty not driving” or “ON.”
(c) For each change of duty status (e.g., the place of reporting for work, starting to drive, on-duty not driving and where released from work), the name of the city, town, or village, with State abbreviation, shall be recorded.
If a change of duty status occurs at a location other than a city, town, or village, show one of the following: (1) The highway number and nearest milepost followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation, (2) the highway number and the name of the service plaza followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation, or (3) the highway numbers of the nearest two intersecting roadways followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation.
(d) The following information must be included on the form in addition to the grid:
- Total miles driving today;
- Truck or tractor and trailer number;
- Name of carrier;
- Driver’s signature/certification;
- 24-hour period starting time (e.g. midnight, 9:00 a.m., noon, 3:00 p.m.);
- Main office address;
- Name of co-driver;
- Total hours (far right edge of grid);
- Shipping document number(s), or name of shipper and commodity;
(e) Failure to complete the record of duty activities of this section or § 395.15, failure to preserve a record of such duty activities, or making of false reports in connection with such duty activities shall make the driver and/or the carrier liable to prosecution.
(f) The driver’s activities shall be recorded in accordance with the following provisions:
- Entries to be current. Drivers shall keep their records of duty status current to the time shown for the last change of duty status.
- Entries made by driver only. All entries relating to driver’s duty status must be legible and in the driver’s own handwriting.
- Date. The month, day and year for the beginning of each 24-hour period shall be shown on the form containing the driver’s duty status record.
- Total miles driving today. Total mileage driven during the 24-hour period shall be recorded on the form containing the driver’s duty status record.
- Commercial motor vehicle identification. The driver shall show the number assigned by the motor carrier, or the license number and licensing State of each commercial motor vehicle operated during each 24-hour period on his/her record of duty status. The driver of an articulated (combination) commercial motor vehicle shall show the number assigned by the motor carrier, or the license number and licensing State of each motor vehicle used in each commercial motor vehicle combination operated during that 24-hour period on his/her record of duty status.
- Name of motor carrier. The name(s) of the motor carrier(s) for which work is performed shall be shown on the form containing the driver’s record of duty status. When work is performed for more than one motor carrier during the same 24-hour period, the beginning and finishing time, showing a.m. or p.m., worked for each motor carrier shall be shown after each motor carrier’s name. Drivers of leased commercial motor vehicles shall show the name of the motor carrier performing the transportation.
- Signature/certification. The driver shall certify to the correctness of all entries by signing the form containing the driver’s duty status record with his/her legal name or name of record. The driver’s signature certifies that all entries required by this section made by the driver are true and correct.
- Time base to be used.
- The driver’s duty status record shall be prepared, maintained, and submitted using the time standard in effect at the driver’s home terminal, for a 24-hour period beginning with the time specified by the motor carrier for that driver’s home terminal.
- The term “7 or 8 consecutive days” means the 7 or 8 consecutive 24-hour periods as designated by the carrier for the driver’s home terminal.
- The 24-hour period starting time must be identified on the driver’s duty status record. One-hour increments must appear on the graph, be identified, and preprinted. The words “Midnight” and “Noon” must appear above or beside the appropriate one-hour increment.
- Main office address. The motor carrier’s main office address shall be shown on the form containing the driver’s duty status record.
- Recording days off duty. Two or more consecutive 24-hour periods off duty may be recorded on one duty status record.
- Total hours. The total hours in each duty status: ff duty other than in a sleeper berth; off duty in a sleeper berth; driving, and on duty not driving, shall be entered to the right of the grid, the total of such entries shall equal 24 hours.