Any motor vehicle accident is tragic enough and has the potential to cause loss of limb and life, but a truck accident can be more dangerous because of the size of the vehicle involved. If not operated properly, an 18-wheeler has the potential to become a weapon that can cause destruction on the road. One of the main causes for truck accidents is driver fatigue-truck drivers drive long hours and are often pushed to drive without taking adequate rest breaks. This is why a trucker’s hours of service are regulated by both state and federal laws.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration outlines the number of hours both property carrying and passenger carrying trucks can be operated without a break. A property carrying driver can drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours of consecutive off-duty time. A passenger carrying driver on the other hand can only drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight hours off-duty. A property-carrying driver may not drive more than the 14th consecutive hour after starting duty following 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
Federal laws also regulate rest breaks. Property-carrying drivers may drive only if eight hours or less have passed since the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth position of at least 30 minutes. Lastly, they may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
While this may seem complicated to an accident victim recovering from injuries sustained in a truck accident, hours of service could become an integral part of one’s personal injury lawsuit against both the truck driver and trucking company. If a driver or the company that he works for has violated federal laws, they could be held accountable through a lawsuit and an experienced attorney may be able to explain one’s legal options.