Accidents Caused by Hours of Service Violations & Truck Driver Fatigue in Nashville
Holding Trucking Companies Responsible for HOS Violations
The National Transportation Safety Board recently reported that trucker fatigue is a widespread and potentially catastrophic issue. Experts estimate that fatigue puts millions of drivers at risk per day. It is currently one of the leading causes of truck accidents—it is a factor in no less than 13% of fatal collisions caused by truckers.
Falling asleep at the wheel isn’t just an accident; it is an act of negligence. Truck drivers can be held responsible for violating regulations, and employers can be held responsible for their driver’s actions in some circumstances.
When truck drivers fail to adhere to the hours of service regulations, they violate the law. Because their fatigue causes them to make judgement errors, they place others on the road at risk. If you or a loved one was injured because a truck driver was driving while drowsy, contact Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge today.
If you or someone you love was involved in an accident with a semi-truck, call (615) 933-2893 for a free evaluation.
Overview of Hours of Service Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has detailed all the major HOS rules on its website, broken down by property and passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).
The following must comply with hours-of-service rules:
- Trucks that weigh more than 10,000.
- Vehicles designed to transport 16 passengers or more.
- Trucks transporting hazardous materials.
The hours of service rules limit the number of hours a driver can operate their trucks.
Property-carrying drivers must abide be the following rules:
- Drivers may drive up to 11 hours after 10 hours consecutively off duty.
- Drivers may not drive longer than 14 consecutive hours, even after 10 consecutive hours off.
- Drivers may only drive if 8 hours have passed between their last end of day on duty.
- Drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty for 7/8 consecutive days.
These rules are meant to protect both truck drivers and all other drivers on the road. Too often, drivers will violate these rules in order to meet their deadlines. However, when they do this, they risk making fatal mistakes. When an individual is too tired to drive, he or she is not alert and cannot respond quickly enough to potential obstacles.
Drivers are required to log all of their driving, rest breaks, and off-duty hours in a logbook. For some companies, logbooks are digital. You can view an example of a driver logbook here. Employers are required to evaluate these driver logs to identify any HOS violations. It is also a violation to manipulate logbooks, and for employers to neglect evaluating logbooks.
Why Do Truckers Drive Tired?
Truck drivers may be under immense pressure in some situations to deliver their cargo within a small window. Some truckers are paid by how many loads they deliver, which can increase the temptation to drive faster and skip mandated resting breaks. Other drivers may be well-rested, but have to drive through the night. Driving at night or during early morning hours may contribute to fatigue just as much as sleeplessness does.
How We Can Help
Our firm has more than 100 years of collective experience on our side, and we have been voted one of the “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News in the area of Personal Injury Law for Plaintiffs. We know how to handle trucking accident cases for victims and their families effectively.
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident with a truck, we invite you to contact Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge today for a free evaluation of your legal rights and options.
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