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Hours of Service Rules for Truckers – What is "On Duty Time"?

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Those who have been injured or lost loved ones as a result of an accident with a tractor trailer are probably familiar with the concept of driver fatigue. As Congress and other regulatory entities continue to address what the appropriate hours-of-service should be for semi drivers, it occurs to me that we should discuss why such regulations are necessary. In other words, why does our Federal and State government need to regulate hours of service of property carrying and/or passenger carrying motor-carriers?

The answer is quite simple — to keep fatigued drivers off the public roadways. Hours of service regulations (aka “driver logs”) place limits for when and how long a truck drive may drive, with the idea that these limits will help make sure that you stay awake and alert while driving.

So what kind of work is included as “on-duty” time? It includes all time a trucker is working or is required to be ready to work, for any employer. It includes the following activities derived from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

1. All time at a plant, terminal, or other facility of a motor carrier or shipper, unless you have been relieved from duty by the motor carrier;

2. All time inspecting or servicing your truck, including fueling it and washing it;

3. All driving time;

4. All other time in a truck unless you are resting in a sleeper berth;

5. All time loading, unloading, supervising, or attending your truck; or handling paperwork for shipments;

6. All time taking care of your truck when it is broken down;

7. All time spent providing a breath, saliva, or urine sample for drug/alcohol testing, including travel to and from the collection site;

8. All time spent doing any other work for a motor carrier, including giving or receiving training and driving a company car; and

9. All time spent doing paid work for anyone who is not a motor carrier, such as a part-time job at a local restaurant.

The bottom line is that on-duty time includes all time a truck driver is working for a motor carrier, whether paid or not, and all time he or she is doing paid work for anyone else. The definition of on-duty time is found in Section 395.2 of the Federal Regulations.

If you or loved one has been injured or a loved one killed in an trucking accident, McIntyre Law, P.C. has the experience and knowledge needed to successfully handle your trucking accident case. Contact us immediately after an auto accident and we will discuss the situation with you and come up with a plan of action to help you get compensation for your injuries, property damage or a loved one’s wrongful death. Visit www.mcintyrelaw.com or call toll free 1-866-917-5200 to discuss your case and find out the best course of action to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.