Truck Driver Hours of Service Regulations
All truck drivers are regulated by federal laws that determine when how long they can drive and when they must rest. These laws are implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and exist in an effort to prevent overworking truckers and preventing accidents. Sometimes trucking companies will push their drivers past what they should be working resulting in accidents.
The FMCSA rules that all drivers have a maximum working day of 14 hours. This includes rest and meal breaks. Once the 14-hour workday is completed the driver must rest for at least 10 hours. In this 14 hour workday, a driver is only permitted to drive a total of 11 hours. Furthermore, drivers must rest for a minimum of 30 minutes in the 11 hour driving period.
Truck drivers are also entitled to days off and must do so based on their company’s hours, this is referred to as the 60/70 rule. If a company is open seven days a week, a driver is allowed to work 70 hours in an eight-day period. Likewise, if a company is closed one to two days a week a driver can work up top 60 hours in a seven day period. Once the maximum amount of hours for a week is reached a driver is required to take at least 34 consecutive hours off before returning to work.
Who Is Liable for a Truck Accident?
In an accident between two motorists, it's often easy to assign negligence because the drivers are likely the only involved parties capable of any wrongdoing. Many people assume that this same logic applies to trucking accidents—but they would sometimes be wrong. Because commercial trucks are subject to safety regulations and industry standards, negligence in these crashes is not always assigned to those behind the wheel.
After a commercial truck accident, authorities will conduct an investigation to determine the cause. When people have been hurt, it is up to legal counsel to monitor this investigation, collect all relevant evidence and testimony, and craft a compelling case for compensation. At the Law Offices of Stipe & Belote, our Oklahoma City commercial vehicle accident lawyers can provide this diligence and ensure that our clients' claim to compensation is compellingly put forth before the law.
DRIVER VS. EMPLOYER NEGLIGENCE
Certainly, a truck driver can be responsible for an accident on the road. These professionals receive special training on operating large commercial vehicles to keep themselves and others on the road safe.
Truck driver negligence can include:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving (alcohol, fatigue, etc.)
- Reckless driving
- Failure to check mirrors
- Failure to obey traffic laws and signage
It's also important to note that truck driver employers can be found liable in these cases. These companies are responsible for meeting certain safety standards and best practices when maintaining their fleet of trucks. When these standards are not met, people can be hurt.
Shipping company negligence can include:
- Failure to regularly inspect and maintain vehicles
- Failure to properly load cargo
- Failure to maintain a reasonable trucking schedule
- Failure to properly train employees
- Failure to hire qualified employees
Handling Your Semi-Truck Accident Claim
A semi-truck is a type of commercial vehicle that is used primarily to transport cargo and goods. It is called a semi-truck because it consists of a tractor (the part of the truck that holds the driver and the engine) and a semi-trailer. The semi-trailer is called such because it does not have a front axle. The front of the semi-trailer attaches to the tractor and a portion of the cargo weight is therefore supported by the tractor's rear axles.
It can be difficult to handle a claim or lawsuit related to a semi-truck accident. The reason for the difficulty lies with the fact that you will need to deal with the insurance company and often the trucking company that the semi-truck driver works for. These are often large corporations that may have an attorney or team of attorneys read to counter your claim.
By involving a lawyer of your own who is experienced and has the resources to properly handle your case, however, you can help ensure that you have the greatest opportunity at a positive case result. This will make a significant difference in your ability to recover full financial damages for medical care, loss of earnings and more.
Millions Recovered by Our Award-Winning Firm
If you want to seek the best possible outcome to your case, involving a lawyer is crucial. This is a legal matter and has the potential to become highly complex. You will need to prove the extent of your injuries in order to seek the fair financial compensation you need to rebuild your life, and an attorney will have the resources and legal know-how to properly present your case in negotiation or litigation.
Our truck accident attorney in Oklahoma City is ready to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve - contact us today for a free consultation