Were you in a Highway 11 truck accident in Monroe, Georgia or Social Circle, Georgia?
When truck accidents occur because the truck driver fell asleep, there is a good chance the driver violated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations regarding hours on the road. Not only are truck drivers supposed to strictly follow these regulations, but trucking companies are also required to follow these rules and monitor their drivers to make sure they are in compliance with the regulations.
WHAT ARE THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are standards for all people and entities involved in the interstate operation of commercial trucks. These regulations are in place for the safety of the motoring public and to reduce dangerous driving and accidents because of commercial trucks.
WHAT DO THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS SAY ABOUT HOURS ON THE ROAD FOR TRUCK DRIVERS?
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 395.3 states truck drivers can drive for the following amounts of time:
- Start of work shift: A driver may not drive without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- On duty time: A driver can only be on duty for 14 hours after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Driving time: A driver may drive a total of 11 hours during the 14 hours he/she is on duty.
- Rest breaks: A driver may only drive 8 consecutive hours before taking a break of at least 30 minutes.
- 60/70-Hour Limit: A driver may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
HOW TO INVESTIGATE WHETHER THE AT-FAULT TRUCK DRIVER VIOLATED THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS
To make sure truck drivers and trucking companies comply with the regulations, truck drivers are required to keep driver time logs which track their hours on the road, hours on duty, and hours off duty. Trucking companies have a duty to make sure their drivers are in compliance with these regulations, and when they are violated, both the truck driver and trucking company can be held liable.
When you are in a truck accident and you believe the truck driver fell asleep because he had been on the road for too many hours, the first thing you should do is send the trucking company a letter to preserve the truck driver’s time logs for at least the eight days leading up to the accident. This will put the trucking company on notice to not destroy or dispose of the driver’s time logs. If they do not preserve the time logs, then you can later file a motion for sanctions for destroying valuable evidence.
If you are not able to settle your claim and are forced to file a lawsuit, you then need to request the driver’s logs as part of your request for production of documents. Once you obtain these records, you need to closely review the driver’s time logs to see if any violations of the federal regulations occurred. If you can prove there was a violation of the hours on the road regulations and this caused the driver to engage in fatigued driving, you can put heat on the trucking company to either pay a higher settlement, or face the jury with this damaging information.
CONTACT BARTLETT BENTON
If you were in a Highway 11 accident in Monroe, Georgia or Social Circle, Georgia because the truck driver fell asleep, please call Bartlett at 770-365-6414 for a free case evaluation.