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Hours of Service Rules and Truck Accidents

Collisions with large commercial trucks, because of their vast size and weight, can be extremely dangerous for passenger vehicle occupants. When the people driving heavy trucks are not rested, the potential for a lethal accident increases.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), impaired driving, including driver fatigue, was a contributing factor in more than 12 percent of the 129,120 crashes involving large trucks or buses in one recent year.

In an effort to reduce the number of accidents resulting from commercial truck driver fatigue, the FMCSA implemented new hours of service (HOS) regulations, effective July 1, 2013, further limiting the number of hours that commercial truck drivers are allowed to be on the road.

Hours of Service Regulations for Large Commercial Trucks

Under the FMCSA hours of service regulations, truck drivers carrying property may drive no more than 11 hours at a time after 10 consecutive off-duty hours. They may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty, and off-duty time does not extend this 14-hour limit.

Truck drivers are not allowed to drive after 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days or after 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days.

Drivers are required to have 34 consecutive hours or more of off-duty time before beginning a new 7- or 8-day period. They are also required to take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of a shift.

Violations of HOS Regulations

Many commercial truck accidents caused by driver fatigue could be prevented. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that truck drivers who continue driving for more than 8 hours are twice as likely to be involved in a traffic crash.

The IIHS studies also revealed that drivers’ logbooks had been falsified in many cases. Among the truck drivers interviewed by the IIHS, one-third had omitted driving hours from their logbooks. In fact, logbooks are called “comic books” by some truckers because they are so easily falsified.

Claims for Damages in Large Truck Accidents Involving Driver Fatigue

If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash with a large commercial truck, your best course of action is to consult with a knowledgeable Dallas truck accident lawyer. At Kraft & Associates, P.C., we have investigated and litigated accidents involving all types of commercial trucks, and we have recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for our clients over our decades of legal practice.

We are prepared to thoroughly investigate the accident to determine who was at fault for your loss or injuries and whether driver fatigue was a factor. Even if driving hours have been falsified in the truck driver’s logbook, we can examine a number of records to obtain the true information, such as:

  • Cell phone records.
  • Credit and debit card transactions.
  • Toll tickets.
  • Video from toll booth, security and intersection cameras.
  • Receipts for purchases.
  • Data from the vehicle’s black box, including speed, steering trajectory and braking before the collision. (Slowing, swerving or lack of braking before a collision may indicate drowsy driving.)

We have the resources necessary to fully investigate the cause of your crash. Our lawyers often work with investigators to prove negligence, including violations of HOS rules. We can visit the scene, collect evidence, inspect the vehicles and interview witnesses.

We know how to handle truck accident claims, and our lawyers are seasoned negotiators. Most of our cases are settled out of court. However, we will not hesitate to go to trial to fight for fair compensation on your behalf if necessary.

There are deadlines for filing a truck accident claim in Texas, so it is important that you meet with an attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case. For a free assessment, contact us today by calling at (214) 999-9999. You can also submit a case evaluation online or send us an email at kraftlaw@kraftlaw.com.

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