When Truck Accidents Are Caused by Hours of Service Violations
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Mar 14, 2018 in Truck Accidents
Driver fatigue and drowsiness are common causes of commercial truck accidents, as truckers often face pressure to meet strict deadlines. When an accident is caused by a trucker’s tiredness, it is often a sign of hours of service violations.
Our Silver Spring truck accident lawyers help victims of commercial trucking accidents recover compensation for their injuries. If your accident was caused by an hours of service violation, the truck driver may be held liable.
If you were injured in a truck accident, contact us now to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our injury attorneys.
Hours of Service Regulations
The nature of the trucking industry pushes drivers to stay on the road as long as possible to deliver more loads more quickly. However, driver fatigue and other problems that come with driving for extended periods of time put everyone on the road at risk.
Because of this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set rules that are enforced to limit a truck driver’s hours on the road to improve safety for all motorists. These rules are known as hours of service regulations and they include:
Drivers Carrying Property
Drivers of trucks carrying property:
- May only drive 11 hours after staying off-duty for 10 hours straight
- Cannot drive more than 14 hours on duty after coming off a 10-hour consecutive break
- May only drive if eight or less hours have passed since their last break off-duty or sleeper berth period of 30 minutes minimum
The 60/70 rule dictates that drivers are prohibited from driving if they have spent between 60 and 70 hours on duty over a timeframe of seven or eight days. This timeframe restarts after a break of 34 or more consecutive hours has been taken.
Drivers Carrying Passengers
Drivers of commercial vehicles that carry passengers, such as buses:
- Can drive a maximum of 10 hours after an off-duty break of 8 hours straight
- May not drive after being on-duty for 15 hours, following an off-duty break of 8 consecutive hours.
- Cannot drive after being on-duty for 60 to 70 hours over 7 to 8 days.
- Must spend 8 hours minimum within a sleeper berth, which can be split into two periods that are a minimum of two hours each
How to Determine if There was a Violation
Truck drivers and commercial trucking companies are required to keep records to prove hours of service regulations are being followed. Unfortunately, this information is sometimes hard to uncover, as companies and drivers may falsify information to cover up their violations.
To determine if hours of service violations were a contributing cause of your accident, an attorney may request:
- Logbooks - Truckers must complete logbooks showing driving time and breaks.
- Electronic records - Some trucks are equipped with electronic logging devices that can show the time the truck was on the road. This information can be cross-checked against the driver’s log to show inconsistencies.
- Cellphone data - Calls, text, and emails can give valuable information on what the truck driver was doing and when.
- GPS - Records from GPS may show the truck at various locations throughout any given day, helping us plot the truck’s trip.
- Pre- and post-trip inspections - Inspections before and after the trip will provide a timeframe for when the trip was completed.
- Bills of loading - These are records that may be time-stamped by a shipper at the time of pick-up or delivery.
- Receipts - Receipts for food or gas show where the trucker stopped on a certain day and can be compared with logbook data.
This information will help us build a strong case against the truck driver and/or the trucking company, as we fight to hold them accountable for the injuries you suffered.
Get Legal Help After a Truck Accident
The attorneys of Goldberg Finnegan are knowledgeable regarding hours of service regulations and other laws applying to the commercial trucking industry. We will investigate your case to determine if federal hours of service laws were violated, causing your accident, and we will pursue the responsible parties for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Schedule a free, no obligation consultation and learn what legal options are available for recovering compensation in your case. We work on contingency only, so there are no upfront fees. We only receive payment if you collect compensation for your injuries.