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Many truckers are required to follow rest rules


Most Houston residents know intuitively that fatigued driving is not a good idea and can prove to be quite dangerous. In particular, the driver of a large truck hauling property through Houston while en route to another part of the country can wreak havoc on smaller vehicles should the driver fall asleep behind the wheel or just mentally doze off.

What some Texans might not realize is that these drivers are in all likelihood subject to certain federal rules, called the hours of service regulations or rest rules, which require them to take a break every so often. These hours of service regulations help prevent driver fatigue and therefore reduce the number of commercial vehicle accidents, making the roads safer for everyone, including the drivers being regulated.

Specifically, a driver has to rest for 10 hours after spending 11 hours behind the wheel. Moreover, because behind the wheel time does not include stopping for gas and to use the bathroom, a separate regulation clarifies that after a driver has been on the road for 14 hours, even if some of that time is not actual driving time, then the driver must stop for a 10 hour rest.

There are also weekly limits that apply to the amount of time a driver can be on the road delivering goods. Once the driver hits these weekly limits, then he or she must stop and rest for about a day and a half.

While one would hope that all truck drivers subject to them would see the good in following these rest rules and do so scrupulously, many drivers unfortunately choose to bend these rules instead, often because they are under financial pressure to do so. Such drivers and their companies should be held accountable in the event of an accident.

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