Fatigue-Related Truck Accidents: How One Law Will Make or Break a Case

Hours of service violations on the part of truck drivers and the companies they work for can contribute to dangerous accidentsWhile truck drivers are typically far more skilled at navigating the road than you or I, they are also under immense pressure to make deliveries on time. This pressure often pushes them beyond their physical limits, and can lead to dangerous situations where truck drivers are heavily fatigued behind the wheel.

The commercial transportation industry—from trucks to trains to planes—is first and foremost an industry. Profits must be made in order to sustain companies, so management and even employees are often tempted to push themselves beyond their physical capacity, which could end in dangerous results.

Because of the ever-raging battle between safety and profit, the commercial transportation industry is heavily regulated in terms of rest times, schedules, approved medications, alcohol blood content limits, and many other facets. Truck drivers have a particularly strict set of regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, one of which is known as Hours-of-Service rules.

What Are “Hours-of-Service” Regulations?

Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations are the primary federal guidelines for a truck drivers’ duty schedule. They control how long and how often a driver must rest, as well as place strict limits on how long and when a driver may be on continuous duty. Several tweaks and changes have been made to these rules recently, which has some industry professionals in an uproar, but the principal argument has remained steady: truck drivers need adequate rest in order to safely command their vehicles.

While a majority of truck accidents that occur are often related to errors made by other drivers, some of the most horrific crashes are related to truck drivers who fell asleep at the wheel due to fatigue. Several truck accidents have made the news in the last year—including the accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan—and most have involved driver fatigue and some form of HOS violation.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is very important that a thorough investigation be made into the truck driver’s duty schedule, rest times, and logbook. An experienced, aggressive truck accident attorney can make sure that the important questions get asked and answered. To discuss your case with an attorney in a free consultation, call our office today or fill out one of our online contact forms to be put in contact with us now.