Driver Fatigue and "Hours-of-Service" Rules

The ways evidence can be developed for a case is limited many times only by the diligence and imagination of the attorney involved in that case. For example, when buses and tractor-trailers are sharing the road with passenger vehicles, the results can be disastrous, particularly when those commercial operators have been driving for too long and with too little sleep.

For that reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has created hours-of-service ["HOS"] rules that limit how long an operator can drive a commercial vehicle without a break. Likewise, the Department of Transportation has recently reiterated the need for HOS rules. At present, the typical HOS rules limit a driver to 11 hours driving followed by 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time.

There are a number of exceptions to these HOS rules, both per day and per week, and counsel representing both an injured party and the commercial operators should be aware of them.

It is always wise to seek the advice of an experienced tort attorney when trying to navigate your way through the prosecution or defense of a case involving a commercial vehicle.