Regulations targeting commercial drivers

Commercial drivers in Louisiana are subject to federal laws that limit the number of hours they can work. These laws apply to people who drive trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Other covered drivers include people who are paid to drive others, such as taxi-drivers or bus drivers. Still other covered drivers are those who transport 16 or more people. The purpose of these laws is to protect both those being transported and others on the highways from an increased risk of injury.

Federal regulations regarding hours of service for commercial drivers changed in July of 2013, effectively reducing the amount of consecutive hours allowed for truckers and shortening the maximum work week. Commercial drivers are now limited to 11 hours of daily driving and to a 14-hour work day. Moreover, they are required to take a 30-minute break during the initial eight hours of driving.

The maximum work week for truck drivers is now 70 hours, after which they must take time off and rest for a minimum of 34 hours, including two nights, before resuming their trucker's duties. One measure to ensure that truck drivers meet these requirements is a mandate to keep log books, which are subject to inspection.

Many people are injured each year in company truck accidents. When there is significant evidence that a trucker involved in the accident had not been compliant with regulations, both the trucker and the trucker's employer may face consequences, including civil action. For, people who are injured in accidents attributed to a truck driver's negligence may pursue a personal injury lawsuit, naming the truck driver and the owner of the truck as defendants. Furthermore, families of people killed in such accidents may retain a lawyer and pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: FMCSA, "Hours of Service", October 21, 2014

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