Hours of Service Violations

Our Dallas-Fort Worth Trucking Accident Firm Holds Tired Drivers Accountable

Alertness and concentration are crucial to operate a heavy truck. Therefore, rest is vital to give the driver enough stamina to make a long haul and to combat fatigue. However, trucking companies often put profits ahead of lives and demand their truckers forgo sleep to deliver more goods more quickly.

Berenson Injury Law understands the risks of operating a tractor-trailer while tired and the catastrophic accidents they may result. After more than 35 years of exclusively handling auto and truck crashes, our firm recognizes the telltale signs that the trucker nodded off or was sleep-deprived at the time of your crash. We conduct an extensive investigation to prove the driver was not fit to operate a big-rig and that the company should be held liable for putting a tired driver on the road.

FMCSA Regulations on Drive and Rest Time

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets restrictions on the number of hours commercial drivers can work and drive, and requires rest periods. The hours of service (HOS) regulations require truck drivers to:

  • Limit their drive time to 11 hours after 10 hours off time
  • Stop driving after 14 hours of coming on duty
  • Rest at least every eight hours for at least 30 minutes
  • Not drive after the 60th/ 70th hour in a seven/ eight-day work period
  • Take at least 34 hours off between work periods

In addition, the driver must accurately track this data and record shift, drive and rest time in a logbook. We evaluate the logbook whenever we take on a tractor-trailer accident claim.

Liability for Tired Drivers

A trucker is responsible for pulling over and shutting down until he is rested enough to drive. The liability also extends to the corporations that are responsible for the driver and the delivery.

Respondeat superior is a legal theory that holds an employer responsible for the negligence of its employees who are acting within their employment duties. In addition, a trucking employer may be directly liable for negligence for tolerating, encouraging or demanding that truckers drive beyond the hours allowed by law. For example, the employer might set an unrealistic delivery time, knowing that the trucker would have to work more than the permissible hours in order to make the deadline. Likewise, the employer may refuse to pay for sleeping accommodations on a long journey and thereby incentive the driver to continue driving to avoid the expense of stopping for the night.

Investigating Fatigued Driver Accident Claims

Unlike intoxication, sleepiness is not quantifiable. There is no blood, breath or field test that can measure whether a driver is too tired to drive. For this reason, regulations are crucial because the driver would otherwise only be deemed fatigued after a crash has occurred.

A violation of hours of service rules presents solid proof of trucker exhaustion. Our accident attorney, therefore, reviews HOS logs and the truck’s black box to calculate the number of hours the driver was behind the wheel and on duty. We also investigate the truck driver’s activities before starting a trip, such as whether the driver had to travel a long distance to the starting point of the delivery.

Learn More About Proving a Tired Driver Claim

A fatigued driver should never be allowed to operate a heavy truck. If a tired driver ran into you, call Berenson Injury Law at 817-885-8000. You can discuss your claim at a free consultation with our Dallas-Fort Worth 18-wheeler accident attorney.