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Tired truckers: Understanding hours of operation

Truck drivers play an important role in the United States, distributing goods across Montana and throughout the United States. It can, however, be a dangerous practice for truckers who drive long hours and are continuously behind the wheel navigating alongside other vehicles. In some cases, truckers may drive for hours and days on end without taking adequate breaks or sleeping. Not only does this dangerous practice put their own lives at risk, but it increases the chances of causing a major catastrophic truck accident.

In order to minimize the occurrence of truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued Hours of Service regulations. These regulations force truckers to take breaks and restricts them from driving over a certain number of hours at a time. Truckers must take a 30-minute break for every eight hours they spend on the road. Furthermore, they cannot drive more than 11 consecutive hours once they have taken 10 hours off. Counting rest breaks, truckers cannot drive beyond the 14th hour following that 10-hour sleeping break. Finally, truckers can only drive up to 60 hours every seven days and then must spend 34 consecutive hours off duty.

So why do truckers continue to break the rules and drive when they are not supposed to? Many are trying to increase their paycheck amounts by driving more miles. Also, some drivers may be forced to meet tight delivery deadlines and must drive through their rest periods in order to avoid being late. The quicker drivers make their delivery times, the quicker they may be able to go home to their families.

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