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Examining Minnesota trucking regulations

Minnesota car drivers have most definitely shared the roadways with truck drivers-the truck's size and weight makes it difficult to miss. They may even be aware that truck drivers drive their vehicles for long periods of time and this may make automobile drivers wary of them-longer hours without rest means fatigue and drowsiness which may lead to truck accidents.

However, truck driver's hours of operation are regulated by federal regulations and, in Minnesota, by the Minnesota Trucking Regulations. Section 10 begins by laying out the criteria that subjects a vehicle to the regulations, including weight of the vehicle, material being transported and number of passengers being transported.

A passenger carrier is differentiated by a property carrier and the drivers of these two vehicles have different hours of operation. A passenger carrier driver must not drive for more than 10 hours after taking eight consecutive hours off-duty. In addition to this, the driver cannot drive if he has been on duty for more than 15 hours following eight consecutive hours off duty. Property carrier drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours after taking 10 hours off-duty and after being on duty for 60 hours in seven consecutive days if the carrier does not operate every day of the week. There are additional regulations as well, but suffice to say there is great effort to regulate truck driver's hours, not only to provide them with a break but also to ensure there are no accidents due to their carelessness.

However, truck accidents still take place and Minnesota residents are injured or lose loved ones in these devastating incidents. In those events, in order to hold a truck driver liable, it may be important to understand how many hours the driver has been driving and if they are permitted to do so. An experienced attorney may be able to wade through the legalities and guide those considering filing a legal suit against the truck driver and the company.

Source: Department of Transportation, "Driver's Hours of Service," Accessed Oct. 22, 2015

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