A major cause of road collisions in the US is fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that a decent percentage of commercial drivers were tired at the scene of their accident. In addition, sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of fatal commercial motor accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Commercial drivers have a duty to all other road users to drive their vehicles carefully while following all the traffic rules and regulations. It takes concentration and skills to operate a delivery truck, a tractor-trailer, or a bus. Therefore, lack of sleep can hinder the driver’s judgment, awareness, and reaction time the way alcohol or drugs can.
For this reason, truck drivers in Florida must follow the regulations outlined under section 316.302 of the Florida Statutes, which limits the driver’s consecutive hours as well as the days of driving. For instance, the motorist must not drive for more than twelve hours after resting for ten consecutive hours. In addition, the motorist must not drive after the 16th hour after they have completed ten consecutive hours of rest. Moreover, the motorist must not drive for over 70/80 hours on duty in 7 or 8 consecutive driving days.
Apart from the federal driving rules, there are additional rules that have been set by the FMCSA. The FMCSA requires all commercial drivers to adhere to the hours-of-service regulations (HOS), which stipulate the duration they work, drive and rest. The HOS laws apply to motorists who drive vehicles that have over 10,000 lbs. and transport dangerous products. In addition, the laws apply to people who drive vans or buses that are designed for nine or more passengers for compensation and those who drive vans or buses designed for sixteen or more passengers not for compensation.
Are the Florida ‘hours of service’ rules different from the Federal rules?
The Florida hours of service regulations are stricter compared to the Federal rules. For instance, the HOS rules require all tractor-trailer drivers to drive for only 11 hours or less after being 10 hours off duty. In addition, it mandates that motorists should not drive past the fourteenth hour after coming off duty. Moreover, according to the HOS rules, motorists must take a 30-minute rest after driving for 8 hours. Furthermore, one of the HOS rules limits driving to only 60 hours over a 7-day workweek and seventy hours over an 8-day workweek. Additionally, motorists are required to at least sleep for eight hours if they are using the sleeper berth and an additional two other rest hours.
The HOS and federal rules are put in place to protect the public from tired motorists. In addition, the rules also protect the driver who may be subjected to driving for long hours and distances without getting proper sleep. If the driver fails to adhere to these rules, then he or she may face license suspension and fines, and the driver’s employer may also be fined. These rules are important to follow and are expected to be always followed.
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