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Why is there an hours of service rule for semi-truck drivers?

It is obvious that the average truck driver in Roanoke City spends more time behind the wheel than the average motorist. While this might make these drivers experienced or well-seasoned drivers, this does not mean they do not make errors behind the wheel. Like any job, employees get tired or feel overworked. When truck drivers work long hours or travel long distances, they too can get worn out. This increases the concern for fatigued truck drivers and the risk for truck accidents.

Why is there an hours of service (HOS) rule for truck drivers? Prior to the 1930s, the trucking industry did not have rules or regulations that controlled how many hours a truck driver could operate a commercial vehicle during certain time frames. When an hours of service rule came into play in the 1930s, it was designed to bring stability to the trucking industry and as a means to protect workers from demanding employers.

However, when these rules were implemented, little was known regarding truck driver fatigue, sleep needs, the performance of drivers and the cause of truck crashes. These rules saw some changes over the past couple of decades. By the 1960s the roads become more crowded, requiring changes to be made. A study in the 1970s proved a link between truck driver fatigue and truck crashes. But these findings would not impact the HOS laws until 1995.

While HOS regulations in the trucking industry were passed as a means to address truck driver fatigue, the reality is that there is still much room for improvement when it comes to increasing truck driver alertness. Thus, truck crashes still occur because of this issue. Victims of a truck crash should understand what caused the crash. This could help explain whether negligence was the reason. This could also determine what legal recourses a victim has. A personal injury action could help place liability on a truck driving and even a trucking company. It is also used to pursue compensation for losses and damages.

Source: Truckinginfo.com, "Where Did the Hours of Service Rules Come From, Anyway? " Jim Park, March 2018

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