Drivers in Ohio may notice that more large commercial vehicles are on the state’s interstates and highways as the evening turns into night and fewer personal vehicles are on the roads. Clear roads and fewer hazards can allow truck drivers to make better time as they drive their loads to their destinations. However, drivers who operate at night and all other times of the day should be rested and alert so that they do not cause accidents with other motorists.

One way that the law attempts to prevent exhaustion-related accidents with truck drivers is through the imposition of hours of service regulations. Hours of service regulations dictate how long a driver may operate without a break, the maximum number of hours that a driver can be behind the wheel without sleeping and the number of breaks a driver must take in a set period of time.

Not all commercial drivers are subject to the mentioned hours of service rules. In fact, drivers of small commercial vehicles may not have to comply with these regulations. If a vehicle weighs more than 10,001 pounds, if it is required to post hazard placards or if it carries a requisite amount of passengers, then its driver must obey the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rules.

Hours of service regulations are in place to keep tired commercial drivers off of the roads and to prevent dangerous accidents from occurring between large commercial vehicles and other automobiles. Drivers who violate the hours of service rules applicable to their loads can face sanctions for their actions and can be held liable for any harm that their actions may cause to others.