Found in section 395 of the FMCSRs, hours-of-service regulations are the laws that govern the working hours of commercial vehicle drivers in the US. While these are binding, hours of service violations aren’t uncommon. They are particularly prevalent in the trucking industry and are a leading cause of truck accidents across the country, including Nevada.
Let’s discuss more about it…
Hours of Service Regulations in Nevada
Nevada hours-of-service regulations assert that a commercial freight driver must follow these conditions while on active duty:
- 11-Hour Shift – Truck drivers must not drive for more than 11 hours during a 10-hour work shift.
- Half-an-Hour Break –The drivers must rest for at least 30 minutes after being behind the wheel for eight hours without a half an hour (or longer) break. They are entitled to these rest breaks even if they have taken smaller breaks during the eight-hour period.
- 10 Hours Off – After driving for 11 hours straight, every truck driver must get a consecutive 10-hour rest/off before returning to duty.
- 60-Hour Driving Limit – Hours of service regulations prohibit truckers from driving for more than 60 hours (in total, with rests) in a 7-day or 70 hours in an eight-day period. Each seven or eight-day period must be followed by a 34-hour (at least) rest period.
- Sleeper Berth Use – The law allows drivers to split their 10-hour break into two periods, provided they spend at least seven hours (consecutively) in the sleeper berth. The second period – at least two hours long – may be spent inside or outside the berth. The pairing, however, must combine to make 10 hours.
Are There Any Exceptions to Hours of Service Regulations in Nevada?
In Nevada and elsewhere in the country, truck drivers are exempted from the hours of service regulations under a few conditions. These include:
- Short Haul Trips – When driving within the 150-mile radius of their primary work location. However, their shifts must not exceed 14 hours.
- Adverse Conditions – During adverse conditions for driving, the law allows truckers to extend their 11 and 14-hour shift limits for up to 2 hours.
Why It’s Important to Follow Hours of Service Regulations?
Strictly adhering to hours of service regulations is the most basic approach to reducing the risk of truck accidents, of which around 388,000 cases are reported across the country each year. Failure to abide by them increases the risk of accidents due to lack of sleep and excessive fatigue, which can lead to:
- Slowed reactions (increased reaction times)
- Being not fully aware of the surroundings
- Altered perceptions
- Impaired judgment
- Lowered inhibitions
Hours of service violations also increase the risk of potentially fatal accidents by contributing to reckless driving, wrong turns, and the driver falling asleep behind the wheel. Several studies have also confirmed that driving while feeling drowsy is as dangerous as driving under the influence.
Can You Face Penalties for Hours of Service Violations in Nevada?
Law enforcement personnel are legally entitled to ask truckers for their service logs and place them out of service if they are found guilty of violating hours of service regulations.
For those who may not know, being placed out of service means the driver has to spend 10 to 34 hours resting on the roadside or at a resting spot. Hours of service violations in Nevada can also lead to fines that typically range between $1,000 and $16,000. However, if the driver is found to be violating the hours of service while transporting hazardous materials, the fine can go up to $75,000.
Frequent or regular HOS violations can lead to more severe penalties against the driver and/or the trucking company.
Who’s Liable for Nevada Accidents Caused by Hours of Service Violations?
Determining liability for accidents caused for any reason (fatigue, lack of sleep, drowsiness, etc.) linked to HOS violations can be a little tricky. More than one party can be held liable in many cases. These may include:
- Truck Driver – For intentional HOS violations (typically applicable to independent truckers)
- Truck Company – When the truck driver in violation of the law is employed and not stopped/forced to work beyond the legal hours.
- Freight Company – If it didn’t stop the driver from HOS violations despite knowing about them or encouraging them to do so.
- Truck Owner – When they were aware of HOS violations by the person driving their truck.
Contact The Bourassa Law Group to Hire the Best Truck Accident Lawyers in Nevada
If you or a loved one is hit by a truck whose driver, you suspect, was not well-rested as per the HOS regulations, contact us to work with the best Nevada truck accident lawyers to file a lawsuit and get compensation for your damages.
Dial 1-800-870-8910 today for a free case evaluation!
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