Trucking is a stressful profession. Big rig operators are under tremendous pressure to get to their destinations on tight deadlines, and many companies encourage drivers to drive all night. As a result, driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of accidents.
The federal government was so worried about the dangers of fatigue that they set rigorous “hours of service” requirements that mandate rest periods for truck drivers. However, some companies still encourage their drivers to violate these rules, or else drivers try to make up lost time by going above and beyond what is allowed. If you were struck by a truck, you might have a claim for compensation. You should meet with an Austin trucking accident attorney to review the facts as known.
What Are the Hours of Service Requirements?
There are different requirements depending on whether the driver is transporting people or goods. If they are driving a tractor-trailer full of goods, then the rules are as follows:
- A trucker can drive 11 hours maximum after having 10 consecutive hours off.
- A trucker cannot drive past the 14th hour after coming on duty after 10 consecutive hours off. This means if a driver spends 4 hours on duty loading a truck, he can only drive a maximum of 10 hours.
- A trucker must have at least a ½ hour break from duty after 8 hours of driving. This can include a break in a sleeper berth.
- A trucker cannot drive more than 60/70 hours in 7/8 straight days. A driver must then have at least 34 consecutive hours off duty.
As you can see, the rules are designed so that truck drivers get sufficient rest before heading out on the road.
How Can You Tell if Your Driver Has Gone Over the Limit?
Proving a truck driver was fatigued could prove vital for your claim for compensation. If a driver is tired, and they make a driving error, they could be liable for your injuries. But how do you prove the driver was exhausted?
A driver who is always yawning and admits to taking No-Doze at the scene of a crash might have given you key pieces of evidence. However, a skilled Austin truck accident attorney can often find more compelling evidence.
For example, your lawyer can look at the driver’s logbook, which documents the amount of time the trucker has been driving. Many logbooks are now electronic and much harder to falsify. Your lawyer might find out that the truck had been on the road for 16 consecutive hours when you were hit.
A lawyer can also check pickup and delivery information, which can show that the driver has been behind the wheel much longer than federal law allows. Without a lawyer’s help, it will be much harder for a victim to obtain the necessary evidence to establish fault for the collision.
Speak to DC Law Today
Our firm has represented many accident victims and knows how to construct a claim the right way. For help getting started, please contact us by calling 512-220-1800 or sending us an online message. One of our Austin truck accident attorneys can meet for a free consultation.