Even a fully rested driver who has been on the road for several hours can begin to suffer from fatigue and conditions such as highway hypnosis. Failure to stop and rest occasionally can make a driver more prone to mistakes and result in an accident. Truck drivers are on the road sometimes for eleven hours straight, only stopping to fuel up or get a meal. The constant need to get to the next destination on time can wear a truck driver down and the resulting fatigue can lead to a truck accident that has the ability to change the lives of those involved forever.
Laws Regarding Truck Driver Hours of Service To Help Keep Drivers Sharp — And Avoid Accidents
According to Part 395 of Federal Regulations, truck drivers are not allowed to be on duty for more than fourteen consecutive hours and must break for ten hours after coming off of duty before driving again. Being on duty does not only include driving, but it includes waiting at a warehouse or a dock or any activity that the driver needs to perform during his or her day. While on the road, the driver may not drive for more than eleven hours straight and even if this milestone is reached before the fourteen hour mark of duty, the driver must stop and rest for at least ten hours.
In order for authorities to enforce compliance with these rules, truck drivers are required to keep a logbook that details when they have come on duty, their mileage, when they have reached their destinations and when they have stopped driving or ended their days. The logbook is designed to help authorities determine whether the driver has followed a number of laws that do not only include those pertaining to a truck driver’s hours of service. The biggest flaw with this system is that truck drivers can falsify their logs and cover up the fact that they were speeding, on duty for longer than allowed and other offenses.
The Responsibility of Trucking Companies to Adhere to Federal Guidelines
Truck companies are required to monitor their drivers and make sure that they comply with federal laws as well as the state laws that apply to the locations drivers will travel through and arrive at. Unfortunately, these companies often encourage their drivers to push themselves in order to reach their destinations faster and actually encourage the falsifying of logs in order to meet their ends. This is not only illegal, but it places strain on the drivers, who are forced to be on the road for times in excess of more than twelve hours at a time.
The effects of fatigue on drivers are a loss of concentration, reduced awareness and alertness, tiredness and slower reaction times. Some truck accidents have been the result of drivers falling asleep at the wheel and colliding with traffic or pedestrians as a result. The rules that govern the amount of time a driver can be on the job do not only apply to semi-truck drivers who handle eighteen wheelers. Any commercial driver is subject to these rules whether he or she is driving a flatbed, pickup, delivery vehicle, semi-tractor or a van.
If you’ve been in an accident due to the actions of a negligent truck driver, there are ways to determine whether or not the responsible driver was following proper procedure. Truck companies will do whatever it takes to exonerate their drivers from responsibility and to steer clear of the heat, but an experienced truck injury lawyer has access to professionals who can reconstruct the accident and use new technologies on commercial trucks such as GPS navigation in order to prove that the driver was in the wrong.
Responsibility Of Trucking Companies To Have Well-Rested Drivers Who Are Alert
Remember that trucking companies will do whatever it takes to not be held responsible for the truck accidents that they bear responsibility for by pushing their drivers too hard. Hold them accountable by calling Chicago Injury Center today— our consultations are free and we will work tirelessly to collect as much in damages as possible so that you can move on with your life after your truck accident.