Being a commercial truck driver is a stressful job – it requires long hours behind the wheel, lots of tedious (and sometimes difficult) driving, and an ability to complete ambitious delivery schedules on a daily basis. Because truckers are often paid by the mile and trucking companies want deliveries to be completed as quickly as possible, there are built-in incentives for truckers and their employers to violate the Hours of Service regulations (HOS) imposed by the US Department of Transportation. The HOS limit a trucker’s working time in various ways:
- Not more than 11 hours of total driving time per day.
- Not more than 8 consecutive hours of driving (driving can resume after a break of at least 30 minutes).
- A maximum workday of 14 hours (including the 11 permitted hours of driving and all breaks)
- Drivers cannot begin another 11-hour driving day or 14-hour workday without first taking 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
- Not more than 70 working hours in a consecutive 7-day period.
- Drivers cannot start another 7-day workweek without first taking at least 34 consecutive off-duty hours.
Log Book Issues
Federal law requires HOS compliance to be recorded in a log book but both truckers and trucking companies routinely falsify the records and “fudge” the numbers for various reasons. Drivers work overtime to make extra money and make up “lost” miles caused by long wait times at loading docks or delays from weather and highway traffic. Or a driver just wants to get home for the weekend and exceeds the hour limits to make that happen. Trucking companies often impose demanding (and unrealistic) delivery schedules on their drivers or may offer drivers bonuses for making extra stops.
Regardless of the reasons, falsifying log books in a federal crime and the trucking companies can be held liable for any injuries caused by fatigue-related accidents.
The Dangers of Fatigue
Simply put, more driver fatigue causes more accidents. Sleep deprivation slows reaction time and impairs a driver’s ability to drive and operate their truck’s controls. Nearly 500,000 accidents involving large trucks happen on US highways annually resulting in over 5,000 fatalities and 140,000 injuries. Studies have shown that fatigue and overwork play a major role in many of these accidents.
An Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Our legal team can help motor vehicle drivers and passengers who have been injured in truck collisions. We won’t rest until you get the compensation you deserve. From wrongful death claims to compensation for lost wages, you can count on us to offer unparalleled results throughout every truck accident case.
A major focus of Hirsch & Lyon’s practice is the handling of accidents involving trucks. Major truck routes that cross Arizona are the scene of numerous accidents that result in serious injuries and fatalities. Call any of our offices to schedule a free consultation.