Truck Crashes Caused by Hours-of-Service Violations
Commercial trucks are large and can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. when fully loaded. If a truck driver is involved in a crash with a standard passenger vehicle, it can have devastating consequences for the other driver and passengers. Because of this, federal and state governments place strict regulations on trucking companies and their drivers to help prevent crashes. One such requirement is hours-of-service (HOS) regulations to help prevent fatigued driving.
Our experienced Georgia truck accident lawyers will explain.
Why Are Hours-of-Service Regulations for Truck Drivers so Important?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the maximum number of hours that truck drivers can work within a 24-hour, 7-day time frame. HOS regulations are meant to limit the number of hours a truck driver is on duty to give them sufficient rest between shifts.
What are the Dangers of Fatigued Driving?
Truck drivers who don’t get sufficient sleep and rest can have impaired driving. Fatigue can affect:
- Reaction time
- Decision making skills.
When a truck driver is sleep deprived, he or she risks falling asleep at the wheel. Driver drowsiness has been compared to drinking and driving because it can impair a driver’s response time to potential hazards and increase the chances of being in a crash. Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their drivers are working within HOS regulations. Truck drivers should be given sufficient rest time, so they are awake and alert while on the road.
HOS Rules for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers are required to comply with HOS regulations set forth by the FMCA. The HOS rules include, but are not limited to, the following regulations:
- A maximum 14-hour workday (if hazardous conditions are encountered, drivers receive an additional 2 hours).
- 11 hours of drive time within the 14-hour workday window.
- A 10-hour off duty period following the 14-hour workday.
- A 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving.
- Driving is not allowed after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Truck drivers are also required to log their drive times and miles using an electronic logging device (ELD). An ELD automatically tracks data on whether the engine is running, whether the truck is moving and miles driven. Click here to learn more about HOS regulations.
Liability of the Trucking Company for Violating the Hours-of-Service Regulations
The trucking company can be responsible for violations of the hours-of-service regulations if it had or should have had the means to detect the violations. Responsibility under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) does not depend upon actual knowledge of the violations.
Proving an Hours-of-Service Violation
Proving an hours-of-service violation can be difficult. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. have extensive knowledge of FMCA regulations. We also have the resources to investigate the trucking company’s records. Because truck drivers are required to keep track of their hours, we can review their logbooks, electronic records, cell data, inspection reports, and receipts to establish a case if violations are found.
Because a crash with a tractor-trailer often results in severe injuries and property damages, we also work with medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists to establish the cause of the crash and prove damages. We can investigate the trucking company’s history in relation to violations of policies and procedures, as well as documents pertaining to the truck involved, and determine whether HOS violations were a factor in the wreck. If negligence and a connection to the collision are found, we will protect your interests by pursuing a case against the trucking company and/or truck driver and representing you at trial, if necessary.
Contact us Today!
If you or a family member suffered severe injuries in a truck crash or your family member was killed in a wreck with a large truck, contact us today. Please call our office at 706-354-4000 to schedule a free consultation or fill out our contact form to tell us more about your case. There is no cost unless we recover money for you in your case.