While any accident involving exhausted drivers can be catastrophic, collisions with semi-trucks can be even more disastrous. To maintain safe roadways for drivers, state and federal regulations require that truck drivers get adequate rest before and after driving for long periods of time. Unfortunately, these regulations are sometimes not followed because the more miles a driver can log, the bigger the payday. These fatigued drivers are a hazard on the road and a leading cause of truck collisions.
Attorney Brian Steed Tatum has years of experience in North Carolina and South Carolina helping injured drivers and their families deal with the devastating consequences of truck collisions. He puts his experience to work for each injured client to ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve.
Truck Driver Fatigue
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is charged with regulating the hours truck drivers can operate to make sure that they are not driving while fatigued. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 4,000 people lose their lives in semi-truck crashes every year and one of the leading causes of these crashes is driver fatigue.
In an effort to help combat driver fatigue, the FMCSA developed the hours of service rules that set requirements in between drivers’ shifts. The FMCSA recently reduced the number of hours that truckers are allowed to work in one week from 82 hours to the now maximum 70 hours in eight consecutive days. Drivers who hit this 70-hour maximum must take a mandatory 34-hour rest period before restarting a new workweek. This restart must also include two periods of rest between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. so drivers rest at least two nights a week.
These hours of service rules also limit truck drivers to being on duty only 14 hours per day, of which no more than 11 hours can be spent driving. During these 11 hours of driving, drivers must be allowed to take a 30-minute break. Drivers must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours prior to the start of their next shifts.
Some trucking officials want to have the hours of service rules repealed because they believe that truck drivers need to have maximum flexibility in their work schedules and should not be told when to sleep or rest. However, many studies have shown that truck drivers’ fatigue leads to slower reaction times and a reduced ability to assess situations quickly enough to avoid emergencies. Long work hours without sufficient resting periods lead to drivers not getting enough sleep and suffering from chronic fatigue.
Consult an Experienced North Carolina and South Carolina Truck Accident Attorney
Sometimes, truck drivers and motor carriers push the limits of the hours of service rules to do more business. These extra miles and hours prevent the truck drivers from getting the proper rest before operating their semi-trucks.
Drivers must record their hours in a logbook, but paper logs are easy to manipulate. Therefore, it is not always easy to prove that a driver violated the hours of service rules, especially when there are criminal penalties related to a violation. However, if you or a loved one has been injured in a truck collision, you deserve to get the maximum compensation allowed by law.
The Tatum Law Firm has experience in investigating drivers’ logs and detecting inaccuracies. We know the effects of truck accidents and have years of experience in litigating and representing clients who have been involved in commercial vehicle or truck accidents.
Our experienced truck accident attorney, Brian Steed Tatum, will manage your case and pursue your claim in order to ensure that you are justly compensated. For a free case evaluation, please contact our office for assistance at (704) 307-4350 or reach out to us online.