Any driver who has shared the road with a commercial truck knows how incredibly large these vehicles can be and how problematic this can be. They can also pose problems because of their heavy cargo, slower acceleration, longer braking requirements, wide turns and huge blind spots.
Because of how difficult it can be to operate a vehicle with all these characteristics, drivers must be properly trained and certified. They are also required to comply with strict state and federal trucking regulations, including the rules limiting how long and when a trucker is permitted to drive.
These rules are called Hours of Service regulations and while they have been regularly changed and revised over the years, the basic purpose of these rules has stayed the same. They are in place to keep drowsy truckers off the road.
The HOS regulations set strict limits on how many consecutive hours a trucker can drive, when breaks must be taken, and provisions for use of sleeper berths. For example, a trucker carrying property can drive a maximum of 11 hours a day and cannot drive for longer than 14 consecutive hours. Drivers who use the sleeper berth in their vehicle to rest must spend eight hours in the berth and two additional hours either in the berth or off duty.
Limiting how many hours a driver can be behind the wheel without rest breaks and sleep is an essential factor in preventing truck accidents caused by a drowsy or sleeping driver. Unfortunately, there are still some truckers who violate these regulations and trucking companies that look the other way when this happens which means that these catastrophic accidents can and do still happen.
In the event that a truck is involved in a serious crash, it can be crucial for victims and their families to speak with an attorney who understands how to investigate these accidents and truckers’ logbooks to identify any potential violations. Armed with this information, it can be possible to pursue significant compensation for damages by filing a personal injury claim.