Semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, tanker trucks, and other large commercial vehicles are a common sight on Florida roads and highways. These vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and are often several times the size and weight of the passenger vehicles with which they share the road. Because large trucks are capable of causing significant damage to property as well as bodily injury when they are involved in accidents, the entire industry is highly regulated by both state and federal law. Federal regulations known as “hours-of-service” regulations limit the number of hours a commercial truck driver may drive in a given period, as well as mandating a certain amount of time off between shifts. Unfortunately, these regulations are not always followed, sometimes with disastrous consequences for everyone involved. Anyone injured in a truck accident that may have been caused by a fatigued driver should contact a Clearwater truck driver fatigue lawyer as soon as possible.
Federal Hours-of-Service Regulations
Truck drivers may drive thousands of miles each way while hauling cargo from place to place. In addition, they may be financially incentivized by their employer or customer to make deliveries within a certain time frame. While truck drivers may want to drive as much and as far as possible each shift, study after study indicates that fatigue can impact a person’s judgment, reaction time, memory, and motor control. As a result, fatigued truck drivers pose a serious risk of injury to the general public. To help combat this issue, the federal hours-of-service regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver may drive. Commercial truck drivers are subject to the following regulations:
- They may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off duty.
- They may not drive after the 14th consecutive hour after coming off duty.
- They may drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes.
- They may not drive after 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days if the employing carrier does not operate commercial vehicles every day of the week. In addition, they may not drive after more than 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days if the employing carrier does operate commercial vehicles each day of the week.
Any violation of these regulations may be sufficient to establish legal liability in the event of a crash. It is important, therefore, for people involved in truck accidents to hire a lawyer who understands and is familiar with the federal regulations that apply to commercial truck drivers.
Call a Clearwater Truck Accident Attorney Today
Truck accidents caused by driver fatigue are capable of causing catastrophic injuries that can result in long-term medical complications. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping people injured by negligent truck drivers recover for their injuries. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at (727) 451-6900. If you would prefer to reach us by email, please fill out our online contact form on the right side of this page.