What are the rules to make sure there are no sleepy truck drivers?

Nearly 4000 people are killed each year in tractor-trailer accidents. The federal government established hours of service rules because truck driver fatigue is one of the highest causes of these tractor-trailer accidents in the United States. In a bid to provide the truck drivers with rest and sleep, and to reduce truck accidents due to truck driver fatigue, these laws have been put into effect to limit the number of hours that a truck can be on the road. Truck driver can drive for a maximum of 11 continuous hours, in a 14-hour work day, after which they are required to take a mandatory rest period of 10 hours before getting behind the wheel of their truck again. The 14-consecutive-hour driving window begins when the trucker start any kind of work. Once the trucker have reached the end of this 14-consecutive-hour period, he cannot drive again until he has been off duty for another 10 consecutive hours, or the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.

Who must follow these Hours of Service rules?

In general it is a truck, or truck-tractor with a trailer, that is involved in interstate commerce and:
• Weighs (including any load) 10,001 pounds (4,536 kg) or more, or
• Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds (4,536 kg)
or more, or
• Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards.
We will describe these terms in greater detail in the next sections of this document

How are hours documented?

Tractor-trailer drivers have been required to keep paper logs of their hours dating back to 1938, but accident investigators and safety advocates have long complained it’s easy to change the logs or keep two different sets of records to evade restrictions on hours. Electronic logging devices automatically record driving time by monitoring engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven and location information.The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recently enacted new rules requiring electronic logging of hours. The FMCSA estimates about 26 lives will be saved and 562 injuries prevented each year.

Many times when we get involved in a case involving a tractor-trailer, we find that logs have not been kept as they should and their are multiple hours of service violations.

If you have questions about an accident involving a tractor trailer, please contact Venus Poe today at 864-963-0310 click here to fill out an online case evaluation form. We handle case across South Carolina and have offices in Greenville, South Carolina and Fountain Inn, South Carolina to better serve you. There is no obligation or charge for our initial consultation to see if we can help you with your case.
The information you obtain in this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should not read this article to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction in which you may have a case.