A majority of the truck drivers that operate for commercial purpose in the state of North Dakota are subjected to following the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) hours-of-service rules. However, there are circumstances where a trucker would be required to following hours-of-service rules that differ from what the FMCSA has stipulated. It all comes down to the type of cargo that is being transported, the distance the vehicle is required to travel, and whether the truck will be traveling out of state.
For instance, the North Dakota Highway Patrol says that the “federal regulations governing maximum driving and on-duty time do not apply to a driver transporting agricultural commodities or farm supplies, including farm equipment and machinery, for agricultural purposes in [the state of North Dakota] during planting and harvesting seasons.” The planting and harvesting season runs from January 1 through December 31. Now, this only applies “if the transportation is limited to an area within a 100 air-mile radius from the source of the commodities or the distribution point for the supplies.”
The North Dakota Highway Patrol also states that operators “of vehicles with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or less are exempt from hours of service limitations when operating wholly within the state of North Dakota.” When a driver is only required to drive the vehicle within the state and does not have to cross over state lines, this is referred to as intrastate driving. Chapter 39-32, §39-32-01 states that an intrastate driver traveling within the state of North Dakota that is subjected to the hours-of-service rules may not drive:
- More than 12 hours following ten consecutive hours off duty.
- For any period after having been on duty for 16 hours.
- After having been on duty for 70 hours in seven consecutive days.
Now, an intrastate driver is exempt from maintaining a record of duty status, which is the log where the driver would record his/her time if:
- They are only required to operate their vehicle “within a 150 air-mile radius from the driver’s normal work reporting location or a 150 air-mile radius from the official worksite of the vehicle.”
- “The driver, with [the exception] of a driver salesperson, returns to the work reporting location and is released from work within 12 consecutive hours.”
What happens when a truck driver violates the hours-of-service rules?
Whether a truck operator is subjected to following the interstate or intrastate hours-of-service rules, they must not work beyond the hours the FMCSA and/or the state of North Dakota stipulates otherwise they will be faced with a multitude of consequences. The North Dakota Highway Patrol says that drivers who violate these rules, whether it is by one hour or 10, “are subject to citation and being placed out of service until such time as they have enough rest to operate a commercial motor vehicle.” Not only will a driver be cited for violating the rules and regulations they are required to abide by, but when they operate over the hours they are permitted to drive, they put many lives at risk, including their own.
The fact is, the hours-of-service rules were established to help keep tired drivers off the roadways and when a trucker disregards these rules and continues to work, they increase the chances of engaging in a wreck. And based on past accidents, most result in property damage, injury, and even death, not to mention the cargo that was being transported might also get destroyed.
Involved in an accident with a North Dakota truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel?
If so, it would be in your best interest to connect with a local North Dakota truck accident lawyer as they can investigate into the matter and determine whether the trucker violated the hours-of-service rules. If so, it will not only help you to build a strong case, but increase your chances of obtaining the maximum amount of compensation your injuries entitle you to collect.
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