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How Many Hours Can a Trucker Legally Drive?

Truck drivers are an essential part of our economy, and their work affects every person in America. Without truck drivers, our lives would change drastically. 

For all of the benefits that hardworking truck drivers bring to our lives, there are also risks to sharing the roads with commercial trucks, including semis and trailers. Collisions between regular cars and trucks are often catastrophic, regardless of who is at fault. 

Semi-truck driving is a career that comes with risks, and being on the road with truckers is risky for other drivers, too. 

Legal Driving Limits: Why It Matters

Trucks are so much heavier than cars that they are rarely involved in “minor” accidents

It is the responsibility of every truck driver to follow the laws regarding safe driving. It is equally important for trucking companies to monitor their drivers’ behavior on the roads and enforce safety regulations.

One of the most important safety regulations is limiting the number of hours that a driver is on the road at one time. If you were injured in an accident with a truck driver, how do you know if they had spent too many hours driving when the accident occurred? What are your options? 

How many hours can a trucker legally drive? 

Several rules govern how much time a truck operator can drive. Violating those rules is a serious concern and may play a substantial role in determining who was at fault for the crash.

By determining who was at fault for the accident, your attorney can make a compelling argument for you to receive appropriate compensation for your losses. 

What Are the Legal Time Limits for Truck Drivers in Indiana? 

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck drivers have a maximum of 11 hours that they can drive in a single work shift.

The rules also vary from state to state. In Indiana, truck drivers must follow these limits:

  • You must take a 30-minute rest break after 8 cumulative driving hours 
  • You can’t drive more than 60 hours within a 7-day time frame
  • You can’t drive more than 70 hours within an 8-day time frame

What Happens if a Truck Driver Goes Over Their Limits? 

In 2019, when new truck driver hourly limits went into effect, the US Department of Transportation explained: “Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers. These new safety regulations are estimated to save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.”

The reason time limits save lives is that they reduce driver fatigue and inattentiveness, both of which increase the risk of serious accidents. 

When a driver goes over their regulated time limits, they are more likely to:

  • Drive Drowsy
  • Speed to make up for lost time
  • Allow themselves to engage in distracted driving
  • Ignore vehicle maintenance issues 

Whose Responsibility Is It To Limit Drivers’ Hours?

responsibility of the driver

Responsibility comes down to 2 parties: the driver and the employer. 

If any employer pressures a driver to stay on the road or permits the driver to falsify driving records, then the trucking company likely bears some responsibility for an accident that was caused by those behaviors. 

Trucking companies are required to enforce limits and monitor their drivers for violations. Trucking safety is not just the responsibility of the driver but also of the company that employs them. Failing to monitor driver behavior creates a liability issue for the company. 

Of course, a driver who chooses to ignore or defy these limits should be held accountable if their disregard for the law causes someone else to suffer from injuries, property loss, or even wrongful death. 

Seeking Legal Representation After an Accident with a Commercial Truck

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or even killed in a trucking accident, seeking the assistance of an accident attorney is one of the best ways to ensure that you get the compensation you are owed. 

Your attorney can:

  • Collect and review evidence from the scene of the accident
  • Interview eyewitnesses 
  • Conduct expert witness interviews
  • Determine who was at fault and who should be held liable
  • Document and calculate all of your economic losses
  • Identify and put a number on your non-economic losses
  • Negotiate with other parties
  • File court documents 
  • Communicate a strong argument about who was at fault for the accident
  • Explain to the other parties or the court the role played by the driver being on the road for too long

Crossen Law Firm Offers Empathetic, Expert Legal Guidance in Indianapolis

If you need a personal injury attorney because of a negligent truck driver’s actions, reach out to us at Crossen Law Firm. Our attorneys in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas are highly qualified and confident, as our firm has extensive experience in getting our clients the compensation they are owed. 

Working with Crossen is risk-free, as we work on a contingency fee. That means you don’t pay us a single dollar until we win your case. 

Contact us today at 317-401-8626 to schedule your free case review!