A truck driver rarely admits to police officers at the scene of the accident that he dozed off at the wheel or lacked mental faculties because he or she was tired. Accident investigators can refer to data in the driver’s logbooks to determine whether he or she drove beyond the allowable hours of service for truck drivers.
If you were injured in a trucking accident on one of the many Dallas highways, an attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the truck driver’s logs and other data. But beware that truck companies may legally destroy certain evidence, so it’s important to act quickly.
Federal Guidelines for Hours of Service for Truck Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) strictly defines the maximum number of hours that a trucker can operate the vehicle and be on duty. The hours of service rules lay down guidelines for work and rest periods to allow truck drivers to get sufficient rest and avoid fatigue.
The FMCSA’s new regulations for commercial motor vehicles went into effect in July 2013. The following are the current hours of service rules for truckers.
- Truck drivers must take a break of a minimum of 30 minutes during the first eight hours of a shift.
- Drivers may drive no more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. They also may not drive beyond the 14th hour after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers may not drive after reaching 60 or 70 hours on duty in seven or eight consecutive days, respectively.
- Truck drivers may restart their seven- or eight-day period after they rest for 34 consecutive hours. Those 34 consecutive hours must include at least two nights between 1 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The regulations clearly outline long a truck driver can drive, how long he or she can be on duty, and rest hours, thus preventing the driver from being on the road for a prolonged time, endangering his or her own safety and the safety of other motorists. But unfortunately, some truckers violate these rules and may cause accidents as a result.
Preserving Evidence of Truck Driver Hours of Service Violations
To prevent trucking companies from destroying hours of service records for truck drivers, an attorney may send a spoliation letter demanding that the company preserve applicable evidence. It may name these hours of service records as well as other documents. Below is some of the other evidence you may recover from the motor carrier company.
- Driver’s personnel file
- Driver’s qualifications
- Maintenance and service records of the truck
- The truck involved in the accident
If you were harmed in a truck accident that a trucker caused, discuss the types of evidence to name in the letter with your lawyer. Your lawyer also can help you draft and send the letter to the motor carrier.
Talk to Julie Johnson if Involved in a Dallas Truck Accident
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a trucking accident in Dallas, you may recover damages if the trucker is responsible for the crash. Your attorney will go over the types of evidence that might be applicable to your case, including any records of hours of service for truck drivers. She also can organize the evidence and present it in an insurance claim or lawsuit to recover damages for lost income, medical expenses, disability, and pain and suffering.
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