Legal Representation for Victims Injured by Drowsy Truck Drivers
One of the main causes of semi-truck crashes in Texas is truck driver fatigue. Truckers can easily spend around 70 hours on the road in a single week but they must still abide by Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules. Most fatigued truck driver accidents are not caused by a driver following the rules, but by a driver ignoring them.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that sleepy drivers cause over 100,000 car accidents annually. When these accidents involve large commercial trucks, they can be devastating. To keep drivers safe, there are federal regulations in place that restrict how many hours a trucker can be on the road and how much rest they need before driving again.
When a truck accident occurs, the other vehicles or parties involved tend to sustain the worst damage due to the sheer size and weight of most commercial trucks. That’s why it is important to choose an accomplished truck crash lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured or worse as the result of a fatigued truck driver. The skilled Waco truck wreck attorneys at Williams & Brown LLP is experienced at taking on the trucking industry and insurance companies that would deny fair and just compensation to truck accident victims and their families. Call us for a free consultation at (254) 269-6700 to learn more.
Hours of Services Rules for Truck Drivers in Texas
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drowsy driving is the leading cause of truck accidents. In 2015, the FMCSA set rules about the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to drive. Here are the truck driver rules:
- Truckers must limit driving time to 70 hours per 8 consecutive days on duty
- Truckers can’t drive more than 8 hours straight without taking a half hour break
- Truckers who reach their weekly driving limit have to rest for 34 consecutive hours
Which Drivers Have to Follow Hours of Services Rules in Texas?
Hours of service rules must be followed by trucks involved in interstate commerce. These rules must also be followed by trucks that fall under the following:
- Weighs (including the load) over 10,001 pounds (4,536 kg)
- Is transporting hazardous materials
In order to prevent such catastrophic crashes from occurring, the trucking industry has enacted a variety of strict state and federal regulations limiting the number of hours a driver can spend behind the wheel. The Hours-of-Services (HOS) rules vary depending on the type of truck and whether the vehicle carries property or passengers.
Every truck driver is also required to keep a log book to record hours driven, break periods, routes, and when a shipment was completed. The log books are used to keep truckers accountable for following the mandated HOS rules. Truckers that exceed the maximum number of hours allowed behind the wheel increase the chances of causing a serious accident.
Common Causes of Driver Fatigue
- Sleep loss: tired or sleepy drivers are experiencing driver fatigue
- Hours/miles driven: increased time behind the wheel and miles driven will lead to driver fatigue
- Drivers not taking breaks: drivers pushing deadlines increase risk of driver fatigue
- Driving under the influence: medication, drugs, and alcohol all can leave a driver tired or fatigued
How Your TX Truck Accident Lawyer Determines Hours of Service Violations
Despite the known risks of driving while fatigued, many truck drivers attempt to drive as long as possible. In many cases, truckers are paid based on the number of miles he or she has traveled, as well as how quickly a shipment is completed. It is all too easy for truckers to keep fraudulent log books for the sake of earning more money.
Additionally, not all trucking companies enforce the HOS standards in order to make a profit, and simply overlook log books or even offer bonuses to drivers that complete a shipment ahead of time. Trucking companies generally employ a team of accident investigators to help protect the company from legal responsibility in the event of a crash.
In 2014, the FMCSA mandated that all truckers use electronic logs to keep track of their driving. Your experienced Texas truck accident attorney can help you investigate if the trucker in your accident broke hours of service violations. Here are ways we can prove your case:
- Comparing driver logs to dispatch logs and trip receipts
- Comparing miles logged to miles paid for driving
- Examining gas receipts, toll receipts, and scale logs
Contact an Experienced Texas Fatigued Truck Driver Accident Attorney
Williams & Brown LLP have helped many people injured after accidents with commercial trucks. Call our Waco trucking accident lawyers to find out how we can be there for you. We can be reached at (866) 393-2611.