Truck Accident Attorneys in Houston, Serving the U.S.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the agency responsible for overseeing trucking company and truck operation safety. As such, the FMCSA sets forth safety regulations and guidelines that most commercial vehicle operators and their employers must follow. Among these are hours-of-service guidelines.
Hours-of-service regulations govern how many consecutive and total hours a commercial vehicle operator may drive in a given period. They also mandate breaks, including the frequency and duration of these breaks, that truck drivers must take to help prevent driver fatigue.
Unfortunately, truck drivers do not always follow hours-of-service rules. Whether due to pressure from their employers or as a result of trucking companies paying drivers by the mile or per load, truck drivers may choose to violate hours-of-service regulations. This leads to fatigued truck drivers or those who turn to alcohol or drugs to remain awake for long periods of time which can, in turn, lead to serious truck accidents. All too often, these accidents have disastrous and even deadly consequences for other motorists.
Contact The Ammons Law Firm LLP at (281) 801-5617 if you or someone you love was injured in a truck accident anywhere in the U.S.
Hours-of-Service Regulations for Commercial Vehicle Operators
Hours-of-service laws apply to most commercial vehicle operators who transport either cargo or passengers, such as 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, buses, and trains.
While these regulations vary somewhat depending on the type of vehicle involved, they are generally as follows:
- Cargo-carrying drivers may not operate a vehicle for more than 11 hours after at least 10 consecutive hours off duty
- No cargo-carrying vehicle operator may drive his/her vehicle more than 14 consecutive hours once on duty after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours
- Cargo-carrying drivers are prohibited from driving more than 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days; consecutive day periods restart after at least 34 consecutive off-duty hours
- Cargo-carrying drivers may only operate their vehicle if no more than 8 hours have passed since his/her last 30-minute sleeper berth break or off-duty period (with exceptions)
The purpose of these regulations is to prevent truck driver fatigue, which can be as dangerous as impaired or intoxicated driving.
How to Tell If a Truck Driver Violated Hours-of-Service Laws
Fatigued truck drivers will often exhibit similar signs as those of someone driving while impaired or intoxicated.
Some indications that a truck driver is driving while fatigued include:
- Drifting across lanes
- Uneven driving speeds
- Slow reaction times
- Sudden jerking movements of the vehicle
- Failure to use turn signals
- Running red lights/stop signs
If you notice a truck driver engaging in any of these behaviors, steer clear. Give the truck driver a wide berth and, if necessary, contact local law enforcement to report the fatigued driver.
The best way to determine whether a truck driver violated hours-of-service regulations, however, is to examine the driver’s logbook. Truck drivers are required to record all events, including scheduled breaks and sleeper berth periods, in a logbook which they must keep in the vehicle.
At The Ammons Law Firm LLP, our attorneys often work with a team of investigators to examine all factors that led to a truck accident. We can investigate the truck driver’s logbook to determine if he or she may have violated hours-of-service regulations.
Call Our Firm for a Free Consultation
Our Houston truck accident attorneys have a long history of success in these complex cases and have recovered over $1 billion in total on behalf of their clients. We have recovered record-setting verdicts and settlements in the state of Texas and are renowned across the United States for our fierce commitment to our clients.
If you were seriously injured or if your loved one was killed in a truck accident, we can immediately begin investigating whether the truck driver was negligent, including instances in which he or she violated hours-of-service regulations. We have extensive experience pursuing these cases, and we are fully prepared to fight tirelessly for the justice and fair recovery you deserve.
Contact us online or call (281) 801-5617 for a no-cost consultation.