Any type of traffic accident has the potential to cause serious injuries, but few are as dangerous as those involving commercial trucks. Because of their enormous size and weight, truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries and significant property damage.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, recognizes the dangers of truck accidents. They are continually monitoring commercial truck policies, including hours of service regulations. Unfortunately, trucking companies do not always adhere to these regulations, and the effects can be disastrous.
Those that have been injured as a result of truck accidents and hours of service violations in the Houston, TX area should work with the team at the Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec to ensure they are fully compensated for their losses.
The most recent adjustments to hours of service regulations (HOS) took effect July 1, 2013. At that time, the FMCSA further restricted the number of consecutive hours a commercial truck driver could drive. These tightened regulations were made in an effort to reduce the risk of commercial truck accidents linked to driver fatigue.
According to the current regulations:
- After 10 consecutive hours off-duty, a driver is subject to an 11-hour driving limit. If a truck driver is carrying passengers, the driver is subject to a 10-hour driving limit.
- Drivers may not drive their vehicle beyond 14 hours after coming on-duty, even if they have had breaks or off-duty time. This limit is extended to 15 hours for passenger-carrying drivers.
- A driver must have 30 minutes of rest time in their sleeping bunk within the first eight hours of their shift, or they cannot continue driving.
- A driver may not drive beyond 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days.
Dangers of HOS Violations
The FMCSA puts careful consideration into HOS regulations, based on the real risks associated with driver fatigue. Unfortunately, many companies purposely ignore HOS regulations or fail to properly monitor a driver’s hours of service because they prioritize time and company money over personal safety.
Accident data shows that HOS regulations can be dangerous, and even deadly. These statistics highlight the dangers of HOS violations:
- On average each year, over 12 percent of commercial truck and bus accidents can be contributed to impaired driving, which includes driver fatigue
- Fatigue can result in poor decision-making, slower response times, and attention failure, all of which can lead to a truck accident
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that truck drivers who continue driving for more than eight consecutive hours are twice as likely to be involved in a truck accident
Although HOS regulations are in place, it is not difficult for trucking companies to falsify driving logs and ignore FMCSA rules. Drivers who have been injured in a truck accident that they believe was linked to HOS violations should work with attorney Shane R. Kadlec to ensure they receive compensation for all accident losses.
Mr. Kadlec will gather evidence such as cell phone records, purchase receipts, debit and credit card transactions, toll tickets, and information from the truck’s black box to prove that regulations were ignored. After proving liability, we will seek compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you have been the victim of a trucking accident, contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about your rights to financial compensation. Experienced truck accident attorney Shane R. Kadlec will listen to the details of your case and recommend the best course of legal action. We look forward to hearing from you.