Commercial truck drivers often work long hours, traveling long distances—and many do so without receiving adequate rest. Sleepy drivers, whether they're behind the wheel of a sedan or an 18-wheeler, put everyone on the road at risk. But truckers who drive while drowsy can cause or contribute to wrecks that result in catastrophic injuries and even fatalities.
In 2013, in an attempt to reduce instances of fatigue-related accidents caused by tired truckers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, limiting the number of hours commercial drivers can work per shift and specifying how much rest drivers should receive between shifts.
The HOS regulations prohibit commercial drivers from working more than 70 hours per week, limit daily driving time to 11 hours, and cap the total workday at 14 hours. The rules also require truckers to take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of their shift. Trucking companies who flagrantly violate HOS regulations face fines of up to $11,000 per offense, while commercial drivers who disregard the rules may be fined up to $2,750 each time.
However, the threat of fines isn't always enough to convince trucking companies and commercial drivers to comply with federal safety regulations, especially when their bottom line or paycheck might take a hit. If this disregard for the rules results in a serious accident, both the driver and their employer could potentially be held liable for damages.
Proving an HOS violation can be more difficult than it sounds. Commercial drivers who regularly break the rules may falsify their service logs. An experienced personal injury lawyer can investigate and gather evidence to help a client build a strong case.
Do You Need an Experienced Truck Wreck Lawyer?
If you were injured in a truck wreck caused by a fatigued commercial driver who was violating the FMCSA's HOS regulations, the skilled lawyers with Holton Law Firm may be able to help you pursue compensation. Contact Holton Law today to discuss your case with a legal professional.