Trucking is an essential aspect of Nevada’s economy and transportation. That’s why there are a number of regulations and laws surrounding the industry to ensure the safety of the drivers and everyone around them. This makes being involved in a trucking accident, particularly complex, generally calling for the need for legal assistance that specializes in these laws.
Let’s discuss what the regulations are, Nevada’s state laws, how ELDs are helping to ensure the safety of drivers, and what to do if you find yourself in a trucking accident.
Table of Contents
Federal Truck Driving Regulations: Ensuring Road Safety
Daily & Weekly Driving Limits
Daily and weekly driving limits are required to avoid accidents due to driver fatigue.
Daily Driving Limit
- Truck drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Truck drivers may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
Weekly Driving Limit
- Truck drivers may not drive after 60-70 hours on duty in 7-8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7-8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Mandatory Rest Periods
- Truck drivers must take a 30-minute break they have driven for a period of eight cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption.
- Drivers may split their required 10-hour off-duty period, as long as one of the off-duty periods is t2 hours and the other involves at least 7 consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth. All sleeper berth pairings must add up to at least 10 hours. When used together as specified, neither qualify period counts against the 14-hour driving window.
Truck Driving in Nevada: State-Specific Rules and Traffic Patterns
Nevada’s Highways and Trucking Routes
Interstates with heavy trucking flow in Nevada include:
Some roads are more hazardous for truckers and other drivers than others.
In Nevada, these are the roads that are the most likely to see accidents:
- Nevada State Route 282
- Interstate 15
- U.S. Highway 93
- U.S. Highway 50
- Nevada State Route 431
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Nevada’s Approach to Trucking Regulations
Trucking regulations in Nevada are established by the Nevada Department of Transportation.
The following regulations are in effect in Nevada:
- Trucks must not exceed 14 feet in height, 8-5 feet in width, and 70 feet in length.
- The weight limit for a single-axle vehicle is 20,000 pounds. The limit for a tandem axle vehicle is 34,000 pounds. Triple-axle vehicles have a limit of 42,000 pounds.
- Trucks may not have a gross weight that exceeds 80,000 pounds unless the driver has a special permit.
- A truck driver must have a Commercial Driver’s License to operate a commercial vehicle. A person must be at least 21 years old to get a CDL for interstate driving and at least 25 to drive a truck that’s longer than 70 feet.
- Licensed truck drivers must agree to blood alcohol testing if pulled over by law enforcement for driving under the influence.
- It’s against the law to operate a commercial truck with a blood alcohol concentration of .04 percent or greater.
- If a truck driver has any detectable amount of alcohol in their system while driving, the person will be restricted from driving for 24 hours.
Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)
An electronic logging device, or ELD, is a tablet computer carried in the truck cab that records data regarding the operation of the vehicle. This includes driver activity like hours of service and record of duty status.
How ELDs Enhance Compliance
When using paper logs before ELDs, it was much easier for drivers and companies to make mistakes or input false information. Now that ELDs are implemented, the driving records are not only more accurate but truckers and companies also follow regulations more closely. Reductions in violations at roadside inspections decreased from 1,023,654 to 784,188 between 2018 and 2020.
Trucks equipped with ELDs experienced a 53% lower driving-related HOS violation rate and a 49% lower non-driving-related HOS violation rate in 2020. One of the top violations, driving more than eight hours without a 30-minute rest break, declined to the 25th position in most common violations in 2020, after the ELD implementation.
ELDs in Accident Investigations
ELD data is often used in legal proceedings after a trucking accident.
They can be utilized to:
- Verify hours of service compliance
- Reconstruct the accident
- Determine driver behavior
- Confirm timestamps and location data
- Authenticate the driver log
- Support or refute claims
Legal Percussions of Hours of Service Violations in Nevada
For Truck Drivers & Companies
If the records show any HOS violations on a driver’s hours-of-service log, that driver can immediately be placed out of service. This involves the driver’s truck staying on the roadside or in a reset stop for 10-30 hours.
In addition to putting the driver out of service, the driver and their employer can be subject to fines and penalties. Fines normally range from $1,000 to $16,000, depending on how severe the offense is. If a driver is carrying hazardous materials when in violation of the hours-of-service regulations, the fines can reach up to $75,000.
A trucking company or driver that consistently violates the hours-of-service rules could potentially be subject to other penalties. These could include a downgrade of a trucking company’s rating or a downgrade of a driver’s compliance, safety, and accountability score. If violations continue to intentionally occur, state or federal criminal charges may be imposed.
Hours of Service Violations in Nevada
On June 1, 2020, FMCSA revised four provisions of the hours of service regulations to offer flexibility for drivers without adversely affecting safety.
These provisions included the 30-minute break requirement, as well as the sleeper berth provision that was previously discussed. It also included an adverse driving conditions exception, which expands the driving window during adverse driving conditions by up to an additional 2 hours. The short-haul exception was also added, which allows for the expansion of the short-haul expansion to 150 air miles and a 14-hour work shift to take place as part of the exception.
Legal Options in Nevada After a Truck Accident
Dealing with an accident involving a truck can be intricate and rather daunting.
This underscores the importance of contacting our team of skilled attorneys at Naqvi Injury Law. We house lawyers ranked in the “top one percent” by The National Association of Distinguished Council, demonstrating our unwavering dedication to providing the exceptional legal assistance you need to receive the compensation that you deserve.
Prioritize Your Safety With Naqvi Injury Law
How Do Federal Truck Driving Regulations Apply to Drivers in Nevada?
Federal regulations set by the FMCSA apply nationwide, including Nevada. These rules dictate hours of service, mandatory rest periods, and use of ELDs for truck drivers.
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Are There Additional Rules for Truck Drivers Specifically in Nevada?
Nevada adheres to federal regulations but also enforces state-specific safety standards. Truck drivers need to be aware of local traffic laws, especially in high-traffic areas like Las Vegas.
What Are the Consequences For Truck Drivers Who Exceed the Legal Driving Hours in Nevada?
Drivers who violate these regulations may face penalties like fines, license suspension, or even criminal charges in severe cases. Companies may also face penalties for encouraging or allowing violations.
Can ELDs Be Tampered With, and How Does This Impact Legal Cases in Nevada?
Tampering with ELDs is illegal and can lead to serious legal consequences. In legal cases, ELD data is crucial for proving hours of service compliance.
What Should I Do if I’m Involved in an Accident With a Truck in Nevada?
Seek medical attention first. Then, consider consulting a Nevada-based attorney specializing in truck accidents, especially if there’s suspicion of regulation violations.