Truckers who haul cargo between Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, and the U.S. are vulnerable if they are unfamiliar with the laws applicable to big rigs south of the border. The Hours of Service rules in the United States differ from the Canadian standards, and noncompliance can interfere with their trips. Along with citations and fines, they also risk crashing, which may result in them having to deal with cross-border personal injury claims.
The HOS rules that apply as soon as commercial truckers cross the border into the U.S. mandate that the hours that truckers drive may not exceed 11 hours, and those hours are only allowed after they had 10 consecutive hours off duty. Restrictions also exist for those who were on non-driving duties for 14 straight hours. They may not then get behind the wheel of a truck to drive. Furthermore, truckers must take 30-minute rest breaks at least every eight hours.
On long trips during which truck operators on U.S. highways spend seven or eight days on the road, they can be on duty for 60 to 70 hours. They will have then have to rest for at least 34 consecutive hours before embarking on another extended trip. Truckers with access to sleeper berths in their trucks can sleep in the berth for eight consecutive hours, but they must then spend at least two hours outside the truck before driving again. When drivers work in teams of two, one driver may spend his mandatory sleeping hours in the berth while the other operator drives the vehicle.
Truckers who violate those rules can become fatigued and more vulnerable. This could result in wrecks and severe injuries. Dealing with the insurance and laws of both the United States and Canada is never easy. For this reason, most British Columbia truckers who are victims of cross-border personal injury utilize the skills of an experienced personal injury lawyer who is registered on both sides of the border. A lawyer can assist with the pursuit of recovery of economic and noneconomic damages.