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What are the 'federal rest rules' and why do they matter?

What are commonly called "federal rest rules" are in fact federal regulations that apply to the drivers of many commercial vehicles, particularly large trucks other vehicles used to transport property or passengers over state lines. Many drivers that must follow these regulations transport cargo and passenger on the roads in and around New Orleans, Louisiana.

As the name implies, the federal rest rules establish how long a driver of a commercial vehicle needs to step away from the wheel between trips and how long each trip can last. A violation of these rules can lead to a fine or other penalty, and repeated violations can mean a driver loses his or her ability to drive a commercial vehicle or, in some cases, a trucking company loses its license to transport goods or passengers over state lines.

The most basic of these federal rest rules is that a driver hauling cargo can drive, that is, be behind the wheel, for 11 hours and then must take a 10-hour break. A driver moving passengers can be behind the wheel for 10 hours and then must take an 8-hour break. There are also restrictions on how many hours a driver can travel in a week without taking a full day or two off.

The reason for these rules is that they prevent drivers of large vehicles from traveling while drowsy or overly fatigued, as it is common knowledge that a tired driver tends to make critical mistakes while on the road and may even fall asleep while driving. Serious or even fatal truck accidents can result from an overly tried driver.

Trucking companies and drivers who choose to ignore the federal rest rules and thereby cause an accident, in addition to having to facing hefty fines and other penalties, may also wind up paying compensation to their victims on account of their own negligence.

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