If you suspect that the truck driver who caused your accident was drowsy or fell asleep at the wheel, your suspicions could be right. Truckers are under pressure from trucking companies to deliver loads as fast as possible and to drive as long as possible. The trucker may have not only been too tired to drive safely but could have also violated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hours of service regulations regarding how long he could drive without a break. If you can prove this, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the negligent trucker and trucking company. If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident it is important that you retain the services of a truck accident attorney who can assist you in maximizing your compensation.
What is the Number of Hours a Truck Driver Can Drive?
The hours of service regulations were developed by FMCSA to combat the dangers of fatigued truck drivers causing crashes. Under these rules, a truck driver is only allowed to drive 11 hours during a 14-hour workday. He must also be off work for 10 consecutive hours before starting his shift and is not allowed to drive more than 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days.
How Does Your Truck Accident Attorney Prove Negligence By the Truck Driver or Trucking Company?
An experienced truck accident attorney can help collect documentation and other proof that can prove hours of service violations. Some of the documents that could be helpful include:
- Trucker’s driving log. A truck driver is required to complete a driving log for his trip that would show information such as when he was driving and taking breaks. Unfortunately, a truck driver may have inaccurately completed this or changed it after your accident. This is only the starting point in determining how long the trucker was driving.
- Electronic data. Some trucks have electronic logging devices that supplement or replace a trucker’s driving log. If this information can be obtained, it should be compared to the written driving log to catch inconsistencies.
- Cellular data. Cell phone records, such as call records, texts, and emails can provide a wealth of information that can be helpful in recreating what a trucker was doing. This type of information can be especially telling because the trucker had no idea that anyone would view it at the time he or she was involved in these communications.
- GPS. If the truck has a GPS, it may record its location and speed at various times during the day, which can be very helpful to mapping out the truck’s trip.
- Shipping records. While shippers are not required to stamp the time and date of a pick-up or delivery, they often stamp this on the bill of loading. This can be compared to other documents, such as the driving log, to determine if they have been modified.
- Food and gas receipts. Receipts for food and gas can show when and where the trucker stopped on a particular date and should be compared to the truck driver’s log to determine when he took any breaks.
Truck drivers of large 18-wheelers are federally mandated to limit the amount of time they operate their trucks in any given day or week for safety reasons. Unfortunately, all too often trucking companies or the drivers act irresponsibly, causing drivers to exceed their allowed time in the vehicle. When this happens, truckers may become overly exhausted and cause devastating truck accidents that involve other innocent parties, like you.
If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler and you suspect that the driver worked more hours than is legally allowed, contact an experienced truck accident attorney. Call our law offices today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
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