Trucking accidents can be among the most damaging and gruesome types of motor vehicle accidents, as commercial vehicles weigh over 10,000 pounds and can be difficult to operate. Because of this, a trucker is required to have a commercial driver’s license and comply with strict trucking regulations in order to avoid devastating accidents.
However, truckers are just like any other motorist: they can make mistakes and break the law. The difference is that their mistakes are more likely to have catastrophic consequences. For example, if a trucker violates Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, they could be at risk of getting fatigued and causing a serious accident.
What are HOS regulations?
HOS regulations were put into place to prevent truckers from driving for too many hours. In the trucking industry, there is often significant pressure to meet deadlines and get cargo delivered quickly. Some drivers go to extremes to achieve this, which often means deciding not to take breaks or pull over when they get tired.
In order to prevent fatigued driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published rules that limit the number of hours truckers are allowed to drive and work. These regulations require drivers to take 30-minute breaks, observe mandatory rest hours and limit driving hours to 11 per day – or 14 hours per day under qualifying circumstances.
Rule breaking still occurs
Unfortunately, just because the rules exist does not mean that truckers always obey them. In fact, there are some drivers who will falsify their driving log records in an attempt to cover up violations and continue working past the allowable hours. If a fatigued trucker fails to respond to changing road conditions or falls asleep at the wheel, they could ultimately cause a serious accident – injuring or even killing other motorists.
In the event of a trucking accident, it can be crucial to determine whether trucking violations were to blame. If you or your loved one has been a victim of such an accident, consulting with an experienced attorney may be valuable. They can work to secure logbooks and other records to support allegations of negligence, which can be essential when pursuing a personal injury claim.