Truck Accidents and Hours of Service Regulations
The immense size and weight of commercial trucks multiplies the impact of an accident, which increases the risk of property damage, personal injury, and death. To minimize the occurrences of these catastrophic crashes, certain restrictions are put on commercial truck drivers.
Since fatigue is a leading cause of commercial truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has implemented hours of service regulations that limit the time a driver can be on the road. Unfortunately, many truck accidents involve hours of service violations.
The truck accident lawyers at Quick Law Group, PLLC, serving the Bellevue, WA, area, have extensive knowledge of hours of service regulations and are prepared to investigate whether violations led to an accident. When violations result in accident damages, they will fight to get their clients the maximum compensation they are due under the law.
Hours of Service Regulations
The FMCSA continually monitors commercial truck crash data to implement standards that will most effectively minimize the risk of truck accidents. As recently as December 2013, the FMCSA made changes to further limit the hours that a commercial driver can be in service. Currently, the FMCSA Hours of Service regulations dictate that:
- A property-carrying truck driver can drive a maximum of 11 hours, after having 10 consecutive hours off-duty
- A property-carrying truck driver may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty (off-duty time or breaks do not extend the 14-hour limit)
- Property-carrying truck drivers must have at least one 30-minute break within the first eight hours of their shift
- Property-carrying truck drivers cannot drive beyond 60 hours in seven consecutive days, or beyond 70 hours in eight consecutive days
Proving Hours of Service Violations
Hours of service regulations are put in place to protect truck drivers and others on the road. Unfortunately, in an effort to move product and increase profits, trucking companies sometimes choose to ignore these regulations. Driving hours are tracked in a logbook that can be easily falsified simply by omitting hours of driving. With these types of practices in place, it can be difficult to prove hours of service regulations.
Individuals who have been injured in a truck accident that they believe to be caused by fatigue should work with our Bellevue attorneys to investigate whether hours of service regulations were violated. Even if logbooks show that hours of service were met, our legal team will look at other forms of evidence to determine if violations were made. Evidence that may prove hours of service violations include:
- Driver cell phone records
- Credit card statements
- Purchase receipts
- Toll booth tickets
- Video footage from toll booths, security cameras, or intersections
- Data from the vehicle’s black box
Who Is Liable for Accident Damages?
Based on the evidence that is found, our attorneys will demonstrate accident liability, so that our Bellevue clients can be justly compensated for their losses. In many cases, liability falls on the trucking company for encouraging hours of service violations or failing to better monitor their drivers. Whoever is at fault, our attorneys will work aggressively to get compensation for the full extent of our client’s losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you are the victim of a truck accident, you will want a knowledgeable and aggressive attorney on your side as you seek compensation for accident damages. To learn how the legal team at Quick Law Group, PLLC can be of assistance, call (425) 576-8150 to schedule a consultation with one of our accident attorneys.