Truck accidents have some of the most devastating consequences of any vehicle collision, often resulting in catastrophic injuries, some of which prove to be fatal. One of the most common reasons for these kinds of crashes is driver fatigue, as truck drivers are often required to meet grueling deadlines and to drive for days at a time. To help combat this problem, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented a series of regulations that dictate hours of service for truck drivers, or how many hours they can drive in a row without taking a break. Unfortunately, many truck drivers fail to abide by these rules, putting anyone else on the road at risk of serious injury.
What are “Hours of Service” Rules?
Truck drivers are at risk of suffering from fatigue more than most motorists simply because they are required to spend long hours on the road and must often drive through the night. Recognizing these risk factors, the FMCSA implemented a series of regulations that apply to all commercial truck drivers who, as a result, are:
- Only allowed to drive a maximum of eleven hours after ten consecutive hours off duty;
- Prohibited from driving more than 14 hours after coming on-duty;
- Required to take a 30 minute break after having driven for eight hours;
- Barred from driving beyond 60 hours on-duty in seven consecutive days, or 70 hours on-duty in eight consecutive days; and
- Required to take 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty before starting a new seven or eight day period.
While all trucking companies and their employees should have a clear understanding of these rules, many drivers fail to comply with them and may even falsify their log books to conceal service violations. Often, violations are even encouraged or ordered by employers, either directly or through the setting of unrealistic goals and expectations.
Proving an Hours of Service Violation
Car accident victims who can prove that a truck driver caused a crash because he or she was fatigued and had violated federal regulations could be entitled to compensation for their losses. Merely stating that this was the case, however, isn’t enough. Instead, claimants will need to provide specific evidence of a violation. Truck drivers are required to record their hours in a log book, but as we mentioned earlier, these records can be falsified, so a claimant may need to look elsewhere to prove that a truck driver was on the road much longer than he or she should have been. This evidence could include:
- Data from the vehicle’s black box, which could reveal miles and hours driven;
- Cell phone records;
- The driver’s credit and debit card transactions;
- Purchase and gas receipts;
- Toll booth data; and
- Video footage from traffic and security cameras.
To learn more about the kinds of evidence that you might need to prove that a truck driver’s fatigue was the cause of your crash, reach out to our legal team today.
Contact Our Dedicated Florida Truck Accident Lawyers Today
If you were hurt in a truck accident, you may be facing an uphill battle when it comes to recovering compensation from the at-fault truck driver. For help strengthening your case, call Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein at 305-371-2692 today and set up a meeting with one of our experienced Florida truck accident lawyers.