Professional drivers – whether tractor trailer, public transportation, delivery – or one of many other types of drivers, often spend long hours on the roads performing the requirements of their jobs. Their employers, just like any other employer, has the responsibility to provide a safe working environment. With drivers, that presents an interesting situation – the employer is unable to control a lot of the individual variables that comprise the driver’s ‘workplace.’ There are some factors, however, that the employer does have control over – such as the mechanical state of the driver’s vehicle. One of the other factors which has come under closer scrutiny recently is the long hours that drivers often work without taking rests.
Hours of Service Rule Aims to Make Drivers’ Workplaces Safer
Hours of Service regulations are requirements that most drivers must follow if they meet certain criteria. The United States Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Safety Administration, in an effort to make the roads safer for everyone – professional drivers and the driving population in general, put these safety regulations into effect in 2012 after being published in 2011. Generally, if a vehicle is used in an interstate commerce business, the driver must follow the Hours of Service regulations if any of the following apply:
- The vehicle weighs over 10,000 pounds;
- The vehicle is used to transport more than 16 people and the driver is not compensated;
- The vehicle is used to transport more than nine people and the driver is compensated; and
- The vehicle is carrying hazardous materials in large quantities.
These regulations have been in effect for the last several years and are currently undergoing revisions, but the general purpose is to require drivers carrying certain types of cargo – goods or people – to get enough rest to avoid creating dangerous conditions on the road due to driver fatigue. The regulations themselves set forth specific requirements for the number of hours of rest breaks compared to the number of hours driving.
If I Am Injured During a Long Haul on the Open Road, Is My Employer Required to Provide Workers’ Compensation?
Employees are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured on the job. An employer is required to provide workers’ compensation to any injured worker regardless of the circumstances, if the injury was incurred while on the job. As with everything, of course there are some exceptions, but with respect to workers’ compensation in Georgia, the limitations are quite narrow – aside from injuries that occur exclusively as the result of an employee’s willful misconduct, the employer is required to comply and provide the workers’ compensation benefits.
For Your Workers’ Compensation Questions, Contact Bader Law Firm, LLC
When you or a loved one have been injured on the job, you need answers – and you need them now. Contact the knowledgeable Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys at Bader Law Firm, LLC to schedule an appointment to sit down with us to discuss your case. We have the experience with all types of workplace injury matters to answer all your questions and help you get started with your case. Contact us to get started – schedule your consultation online today.