Driver fatigue is a common factor in many truck accidents. Truck drivers are under intense pressure to meet tight deadlines and this often causes them to stay on the road even though they are fatigued and need sleep. Some drivers stay behind the wheel even though they are in violation of federal hours of service regulations that are meant to protect drivers and others on the road.
The Cincinnati truck accident lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy have detailed knowledge of these regulations. If you were injured in a truck accident we can thoroughly investigate to determine if any hours of service rules were broken. If any regulations were violated, we may be able to hold the driver or his or her employer liable for your damages.
Current Hours Of Service Regulations
Trucking companies are often paid by the load, which creates an incentive for truck drivers to drive as many consecutive hours as possible. However, driving for a long time without a break can cause fatigue, impaired judgment, slower reaction time and increase the risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
To combat this problem, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established limits on how long a truck driver can remain on the road. These rules are known as hours of service regulations. Under the current hours of service regulations:
- Truck drivers transporting property are limited to driving 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Truck drivers carrying passengers are limited to 10 hours of driving after eight consecutive hours off duty.
- Truck drivers carrying property cannot drive if less than eight hours have passed since their last break of at least 30 minutes.
- Passenger-carrying drivers cannot be on duty for more than 15 hours, following eight consecutive hours off duty.
- Property-carrying drivers cannot drive after the 14th hour of coming on duty after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
- Truck drivers cannot drive after 60 to 70 hours on duty over seven or eight consecutive days. A new seven or eight-day period begins after the driver has been off duty 34 or more consecutive hours.
- Truck drivers must track their driving and rest breaks in a daily log.
Who Must Comply?
Most commercial motor vehicle drivers must comply with the hours of service regulations. This includes vehicles involved in interstate commerce and those that:
- Weigh more than 10,000 pounds
- Are designed to transport between nine and 15 passengers for compensation
- Are designed to transport 16 or more passengers
- Carry hazardous materials, according to the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act
Exceptions To The Rules
There are several exceptions to the hours of service rules, including:
- Truck drivers may exceed the 10-hour driving limit by up to two hours during inclement weather.
- Retail store drivers who are traveling within a 100-mile radius can exceed the daily driving limits from December 10 through December 25.
Contact A Lawyer For Help
If you were injured or a family member was killed in a truck accident caused by a driver who may have been fatigued or fell asleep at the wheel, it is important to discuss your case with a knowledgeable truck accident attorney.
The Cincinnati personal injury attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can investigate your case to try to discover violations of hours of service regulations. We can help build your case and negotiate a fair settlement.
We provide a free consultation to discuss your case. We only charge for attorney’s fees if we help you recover compensation for your claim.