Oregon leading in enforcement of truck safety law

Among long-haul drivers and heavy truck operators, Oregon has an interesting distinction.

Oregon ranks #1 among states for enforcement of hours-of-service laws (HOS), meant to ensure truckers get adequate rest. Nearly 25% of all trucker tickets in the state are for HOS violations—compared to 9% nationally.

Hours-of-service rules as of July 2013*

  • An average work-week for truck drivers is capped at a maximum of 70 hours.
  • After 70 hours, drivers must rest for at least 34 consecutive hours.
  • Truck drivers must take a 30-minute driving break during the first 8 hours of a shift.

In 2013, Oregon issued 3 HOS violations for every 10 truck inspections.

How Oregon is keeping tabs on trucking safety

Oregon is one of only a few states with a weight and distance tax for heavy vehicles.

Weighing trucks 2 (3542971437)

The data collected at weigh stations is used to calculate taxes—but it can also be used to verify a driver’s activities.

For example, if a semi-truck causes a fatal accident, weigh station data can be used ascertain the truck’s whereabouts prior to the crash. When an attorney investigates the crash, that information can help determine if the driver was speeding, or violated hours-of-service rules.

“Our daily goal is to reduce the number of truck-at-fault crashes …”

– David McKane, Oregon’s Department of Transportation

The Oregon Department of Transportation reports that HOS enforcement is a priority, because about 90% of at-fault truck accidents are caused by the driver.

And driver fatigue is a major cause of semi-truck accidents.


* Some safety measures in the current laws for truck drivers are about to change – see more on Legal Examiner: Congress undoing safety changes to hours-of-service rules


Photo By Oregon Department of Transportation (Weighing trucks 2Uploaded by Smallman12q) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons