There are lots of things that make Texas truck accidents inherently dangerous, especially the fatigued truck driver. Consider the tractor-trailer which veered off Interstate 30, slammed through a guardrail, and crashed into an embankment in Grand Prairie. The police stated that the accident happened because the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The only injured person was the 18 wheeler driver. This time, the driving public was lucky. But many times, these asleep-at-the-wheel stories end with one or more people losing their lives.
A fatigued truck driver is one of the largest causes of commercial truck accidents. Trucking companies are often under intense pressure to hit strict deadlines and frequently they pass that pressure on to their drivers who are paid by the mile or job completed.
Trucking regulations impose hours of service caps but those limits sometimes get ignored in the face of deadlines. When a fatigued truck driver causes a truck wreck, it is imperative to check that driver’s electronic logbooks and other records because there may well be an hours-of-service violation to be found. Demonstrating that an hours of service violation happened is an essential part of your case and will enhance your ability to get the full amount of compensation you deserve.
How much can truckers drive legally?
Federal trucking regulations state that:
- Drivers are forbidden from driving after they’ve logged 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. At that point, they have to be off-duty for at least 34 hours.
- Drivers may drive for 11 hours after they’ve put in at least 10 off-duty hours in a row, but they can be on duty for no more than 14 hours in a row.
- After taking a sleeper berth or other off-duty break of 30 minutes, a trucker can drive no more than eight hours.
How do I prove that the fatigued truck driver who hurt me had driven too much?
There is a lot of documentation associated with commercial trucking, which means there are many potential pieces of evidence to prove that the trucker who hurt you was in violation of the hours of service rules. Examples of the kinds of paper or electronic items that may demonstrate a violation include:
- GPS information – which may show that the trucker covered more ground that one could possibly drive without exceeding the limits.
- Logbooks – these can clearly show a violation, and these are something that all truckers must complete, showing all of their driving time and the breaks they took.
- Electronic logging information that some trucks record – this may be a “missing piece” that shows the driver drove too long.
- Cell phone information – a trucker’s texts, phone calls, and emails may contain relevant textual information or may contain time stamps that affirmatively show a violation took place.
- Truck inspections before and after the trip – these may help to give greater clarity in establishing the timeframe of the trip.
- Other documents – things such as bills of lading, receipts, or anything with a time stamp can show a violation or can at least show that the times entered in the logbook were not 100% accurate.
You don’t know all of the “ins” and “outs” of FMCSA hours of service rules or how to obtain a trucker or trucking company’s logbooks, inspection records, bills of lading, cell phone records, etc.
That is one area of many in which an experienced, board-certified personal injury attorney can help. He knows exactly how much a trucker is allowed to drive and knows how to get the information about truck driver fatigue you need to calculate whether or not an hours of service violation has occurred.
Berenson Injury Law is here to help.
Mr. Berenson has nearly 40 years of experience as a personal injury lawyer in Dallas-Fort Worth. If the trucker or trucking company involved in your crash was liable, his experience in handling these cases will give you the edge you need.
For your free case review, contact us today at 1-888-801-8585 or email us online.