What Are the Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers in North Carolina?
If you or a loved one drives a truck — or you’ve been injured in a truck accident — you may be wondering, “What are the hours of service regulations for truck drivers in North Carolina?”
In this article, we’ll explain what “hours of service” laws are and how they affect truck drivers. We’ll also discuss how these hours of service rules can impact a personal injury claim or lawsuit if you’ve been injured in a truck accident.
What Are “Hours of Service” Laws?
Hours of service laws are not specific to just National.
The hours of service laws are issued by the Federal Motor Safety Administration (FMCSA) which is a division of the United States Department of Transportation. These laws govern anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) throughout the United States. The rules and regulations apply to all truck drivers, bus drivers and school bus drivers who operate CMVs.
Hours of service rules limit the number of daily and weekly hours spent behind the wheel and regulate the amount of time drivers must rest between shifts.
These hours of service regulations are a set of rules which commercial vehicle operators must follow. The goal of the FMSA hours of service regulations is to keep fatigued truckers off the public roads and highways and increase highway safety. This is done by limiting the amount of driving hours per day, and the number of driving and working hours per week. An exhausted trucker can be a danger to others and when heavy trucks or 18-wheelers crash, the outcome can be catastrophic to other motorists.
IMPORTANT: If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence — including negligence pertaining to hours of service rules.
Remember, the hours of service rules apply to all truck drivers and may play an important role in proving fault in a truck accident. Our attorneys can help sift through the evidence and determine whether or not hours of service laws were violated.
Every truck driver must keep a record of their working hours in a logbook. The logbook must include the total number of hours spent driving and resting and the time at which the change of duty occurred. Drivers are expected to make copies of each page. One page may be kept with the driver and the other copy is sent to the driver’s employer.
Instead of using a logbook, the motor carrier may keep a record of the driver’s hours using an electronic logging device (ELD). This ELD automatically records the amount of time spent driving and location so the driver does not have to do it manually. In this case, the driver is only responsible for reporting on and off duty time.
What are the hours of service regulations in North Carolina?
- 14 hour driving window: This is known as the daily driving limit and is not based on a 24-hour period. The 14-hour rule allows drivers 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. This can be confusing, but essentially means that after having 10 hours off, a driver has 14 hours to log a total of 11 hours of driving.
- 11-hour driving limit: Within a 14-hour window, you are only allowed to operate your truck for 11 hours. After driving for 11 hours you must take a 10-hour break.
- Thirty-minute rest break: Drivers cannot drive more than 8 straight hours without a 30-minute break.
- 60/70- hour duty limit: Since there is a 14-hour driving window limit per day then the 60/70-hour duty limit can be considered a weekly driving limit. A trucker may not be on duty for more than 60 hours during 7 consecutive days, or more than 70 hours in any 8 consecutive days.
- 34-hour restart: To restart you 60 or 70-hour weekly limit, you must take 34 (plus) consecutive hours of time off.
- Exceptions: There are some exceptions to these hours of service rules. For a complete list of exceptions please visit the FMCSA website and look at the specific industry-related regulations.
- Sleeper-Berth Provisions: You can record some or all of the 10-hour mandatory off-duty time inside your sleeper berth. If you spend at least 8 consecutive hours in your sleeper birth, you can extend your 14-hour window.
New Hours of Service Rules Truck Drivers
As of 2020, new service rules for truckers have been implemented. The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration listened to America’s truckers and have published new hours of service rules to keep truckers safe on the roads and highways. These new hours of service rules include:
- The Agency will increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of consecutive driving and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.
- The Agency will modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split, or a 7/3 split—with neither period counting against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
- The Agency will modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
- The Agency will change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
The FMCSA reported these rule changes will not increase driving time and will prevent CMV operators from driving more than eight consecutive hours without a break of at least 30 minutes. Consequently, these new rules are estimated to provide over $270 million in annual cost savings for the United states economy.
Have You Been Injured in a Truck Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, the hours of service rules may apply and help prove liability in your case.
For a FREE consultation with an experienced NC truck accident lawyer, please call 1-800-525-7111.
There is never any obligation and you won’t pay any attorney fees unless we win your case and you receive financial compensation.
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–Melissa C., Riddle & Brantley client
Trucking regulations and rules are extensive and hard to understand. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, please call Riddle & Brantley at 1-800-525-7111 or fill out the short form below for a FREE, no-obligation consultation.
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