Commercial truck drivers are bound by federal and state law to follow certain hours of service. They may only log a certain number of hours on the road each day, must take occasional breaks, and have to log a certain amount of sleep each night. Failure to follow these regulations is not only dangerous, it’s against the law. Yet, drivers and the companies who employ them sometimes put their profits and interests ahead of the safety of others. According to the FMCSA, driver fatigue plays a role in nearly 18% of all large truck crashes.
If you or a loved one have incurred injury in an accident involving a fatigued driver, it’s helpful to understand your legal options.
Truck driver fatigue is dangerous for several reasons: It may cause the vehicle operator to fall asleep at the wheel, misjudge distances, and ignore impending hazards, causing the driver to panic or under-react to a situation. The FMCSA rules state that truck drivers must rest and get restorative sleep each day while he or she is on the road:
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, one of the first things we investigate is if the driver violated one of these hours of service rules.
To assess whether or not a trucking company violated an hours of service rule, we ask for a copy of the driver’s logs. The FMCSA requires each driver to log his or her hours of service each day – falsifying this data is a criminal offense. If a driver’s logs are missing, incomplete, or inaccurate, it’s likely they violated FMSCA rules.
There are also other ways to check if a driver has violated their hours of service – for example, each driver gets a “trip ticket” or “bill of lading” for each delivery. We can follow up on these bills in the days leading up to the accident and estimate how many hours the driver logged based on the distance travelled and the time stamp on the ticket.
While the driver is ultimately responsible for logging his or her hours, the trucking company should also monitor hours of service and ensure employees keep accurate logs. Trucking companies who look the other way while truckers falsify or neglect logs are exposing themselves to liability in a lawsuit.
The truck accident lawyers at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP have extensive experience in holding negligent drivers and their employers responsible for their actions. When a company or driver puts profits ahead of public safety, catastrophe can result.
If you or a loved one sustained injury in a serious truck accident, or a loved one was killed in a fatal truck crash, contact Butler Wooten & Peak LLP at (800) 242-2962 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation. A personal injury settlement can help compensate for medical bills and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.
Never pay the price for someone else’s negligence. Contact the accident attorneys at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP today.