Truck Accidents and Hours of Service Regulations
Commercial truck accidents frequently result in devastating damages, including catastrophic injuries or fatalities, emotional trauma, and financial losses. While truck accidents occur for a number of reasons, a leading cause of commercial truck collisions is impaired or fatigued drivers. To minimize the risk of these types of crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented hours of service regulations.
Despite clear guidelines, hours of service regulations are routinely violated. Victims of truck accidents involving hours of service regulations violations can work with the lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau, serving Daytona Beach, FL, Palm Coast, FL, and surrounding areas, to hold liable parties accountable for accident damages.
Hours of Service Regulations
The longer that a commercial truck driver is in service, the higher the risk that an accident will occur. Long hours on the road, driving into late night hours, and repetitive scenery are just some of the factors that can contribute to driver fatigue. Recognizing these accident risk factors, the FMCSA has implemented hours of service regulations for all commercial truck drivers. In summary, drivers of property-carrying commercial trucks must adhere to the following guidelines:
- Drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty
- Drivers may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty (breaks and other off duty time does not extend this limit)
- Drivers must take a 30-minute break when they have driven for a period of eight cumulative hours
- Drivers may not drive beyond 60 hours on duty in seven consecutive days, or 70 hours on duty in eight consecutive days
- Drivers must have 34 or more consecutive hours off duty before starting a new seven or eight day period
Violations of Hours of Service Regulations
All trucking companies and their employees should have a clear understanding of hours of service regulations. Unfortunately, many drivers deliberately ignore these guidelines and even falsify documents or omit hours from driving log books to conceal hours of service violations. Violations may be encouraged by employers, either by direct orders or through the setting of unrealistic goals or expectations that put drivers under pressure to drive beyond hours of service regulations.
Proving Hours of Service Violations
When violations of hours of service regulations lead to a truck accident, the driver and their employer may be held liable for accident losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, diminished wage earning capacity, pain and suffering, and diminished quality of life. However, drivers and trucking companies are unlikely to admit that violations have occurred, and driving log books can be falsified.
To prove hours of service violations, accident victims should work with knowledgeable truck accident attorneys, such as those at our Daytona Beach law firm. Our legal team examines a number of records to gather the evidence necessary to prove hours of service regulations. This may include:
- Cell phone records
- Credit and debit card transactions
- Purchase receipts
- Toll booth data
- Video footage from toll booth, intersection, or security cameras
- Data from the vehicle’s black box
Contact Our Law Firm
If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident and believe that it was related to violations of hours of service regulations, the lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can assist you in proving liability so that responsible parties can be held accountable for accident damages. To discuss your case, contact our law firm online or call (386) 258-7313 at your earliest convenience.