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Top 3 Hours of Service Violations & How They Cause Truck Accidents

Tired trucker yawns while behind wheel of tractor-trailer.

HOS violations often contribute to tractor-trailer accidents in Texas and across the U.S.

Truck accidents in Henderson County, East Texas, and other parts of the country often occur because truck drivers violate Hours of Service regulations, sometimes referred to by their initials, HOS. So what are HOS regulations? And what are the most common Hours of Service violations?

Below, you can find the answers to these questions and learn more about your legal rights if you or a loved one are injured in a crash caused by a truck driver who violated Hours of Service regulations.

In such situations, an Athens, TX, truck accident attorney at Weinstein Law can work with you and help you build the strongest possible legal case. We know the law, understand how the legal system works, and can advise you on your available legal options.

What are Hours of Service (HOS) rules?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created and enforces Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, which place strict rules on how many hours commercial truck drivers can legally drive before taking mandatory rest breaks. Hours of Service rules can be found in Title 49, Part 395 of the Code of Federal Regulations and include:

  • Commercial truck drivers cannot work more than 60 hours in a 7-day period or 70 hours in an 8-day period.
  • A commercial truck driver carrying property (as opposed to passengers) cannot work longer than 11 hours during a 14-hour period without a mandatory rest break.
  • A mandatory sleeping break must be at least 10 hours.
  • Mandatory rest breaks must be at least 30 minutes for every 8 hours of driving.

As stated above, different federal HOS rules apply to commercial truck drivers operating a truck carrying passengers.

Why do Hours of Service regulations exist?

Hours of Service regulations have existed since 1937. The reason why these regulations were created almost surely has to do with the knowledge that tired truck drivers are at high risk of causing serious truck accidents.

Since then, the federal government has frequently revised and updated HOS rules. These rules were last amended on Oct. 25, 2022. But perhaps the most significant change to HOS regulations occurred in 2017 when the FMCSA started requiring commercial trucks to be equipped with an electronic logging device (ELD). An ELD carefully monitors a truck and records important driver data, including:

  • The speed of the truck.
  • When a truck driver takes mandatory rest breaks.
  • When and if the truck driver applies the brakes. (This is important because failure to apply brakes can indicate the trucker was distracted, under the influence, or asleep at the wheel in the moments before the accident)

Previously, commercial truck drivers kept handwritten records documenting how many hours they worked and when they took rest breaks.

3 most common Hours of Service violations

The FMCSA carefully monitors all Hours of Service violations. In recent years, the most common HOS violations were:

  • Driving more than 11 hours in a 14-hour time period.
  • Not taking a mandatory 10-hour sleeping break.
  • Not taking a mandatory 30-minute break every 8 hours.

Fatigued truck driver leaning on a steering wheel.

Specifically, between 2018 and so far this year, the most common HOS violations recorded by the FMCSA include the following:

  • False report of drivers record of duty status (139,145 violations between 2018 and this year so far)
  • No record of ELD duty status (132,460 violations nationwide)
  • No record of duty status when one is required (53,628 violations)

3 most common Hours of Service violations in Texas

Like the rest of the country, the most common Hours of Service violations in Texas between 2018 and so far this year, according to the FMCSA, include:

  • No record of ELD duty status (12,070 violations in Texas)
  • No record of duty status when one is required (7,785 violations)
  • Driver failing to retain previous 7 days records of duty status (4,667 violations)

Why should I hire a Texas truck accident lawyer?

You might think you don’t need an attorney if a truck driver caused your collision. But unfortunately, many truck accident injury claims or lawsuits quickly become complicated legal cases. This is why you need a lawyer to fight for your rights, advocate for your best interests, and maximize the value of your claim.

An experienced Texas truck accident attorney at Weinstein Law in Athens, Texas, can ensure your claim gets the attention it deserves. We know how to investigate accidents, find important evidence, and put everything together into a strong legal case.

Learn more about your legal options. Contact our law firm and schedule a free consultation right away. We handle truck accident injury claims and lawsuits in Henderson County and throughout East Texas.

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