Truck drivers are often required to work long hours with tough deadlines, but their time behind the wheel is strictly regulated by regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Service Administration (FMCSA). These rules are in place to protect truckers and other motorists alike. Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations specifically address the number of hours that a truck driver may operate a vehicle before taking a break. They also set forth rules regarding mandatory rest periods and the number of hours a truck driver may work within a certain amount of days.
When HOS regulations are ignored or willfully violated, truck drivers and trucking companies put everyone on the road at risk. Cullan & Cullan is committed to exposing HOS violations and other types of negligence or wrongdoing to help victims of truck accidents in Kansas City and across Missouri and Kansas. Our truck accident attorneys have an in-depth understanding of state and federal trucking regulations, and how violations can cause serious collisions.
To learn more, call (816) 253-8606. Your consultation is free and completely confidential.
Why Fatigued Driving Is Dangerous
If you have ever felt yourself start to doze off, you know what it feels like to be fatigued. Your eyes begin to close, your head starts to droop, and your mind begins to wander. Being behind the wheel of a large truck as you begin to drift off can be extremely dangerous.
Fatigued truck drivers often have:
- Delayed reaction times
- Impaired judgment and vision
- Decreased performance and motivation
- Difficulty processing information
- Short-term memory issues
- Increased moodiness
- Tendencies toward aggressive behavior
Government Hours-of-Service Regulations
Fatigued driving is so dangerous that the federal government has put in place a number of rules and regulations regarding how long a truck driver can work without rest. Under Hours-of-Service regulations set forth by the FMCSA, truck drivers may only drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours of consecutive off-duty hours. Additionally, property-carrying drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. Drivers can restart their 7/8 consecutive day period after 34 or more consecutive off-duty hours. In addition, it may be important to subpoena the driver’s employment file and information the trucking company has regarding any health issues the driver has, such as sleep apnea. An alarming number of drivers, through no fault of their own, suffer from sleep apnea which may contribute to driver fatigue.
When a truck driver is involved in an alcohol-related crash, law enforcement officers can test his or her blood alcohol levels. Proving that someone was fatigued is not as easy. It is often necessary to get detailed accounts of the driver’s behavior through eyewitness testimony. It can also prove useful to review the driver’s log. Was the truck driver adhering to federal HOS regulations, or was he or she driving longer than allowed by law?
Seeking Compensation After a Truck Accident
It is possible to hold fatigued truck drivers and their employers financially accountable for the damages they cause. A successful claim against a truck driver and the trucking firm can result in financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and other related damages.
The process of filing a truck accident claim is not easy because the trucking company and their lawyers get involved immediately after any serious injury wreck. It is necessary to fight back with an experienced Kansas City truck accident attorney who will keep the pressure on the truck driver, the trucking company, and their insurance providers. Our firm has attorneys who have specialized training in truck accident reconstruction. A prompt and thorough investigation of your truck accident is important to winning your case.
Call us for a free consultation at (816) 253-8606.