Violation of HOS Rules: The Reason Behind Most Truck Accidents!

Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks are typically huge vehicles that can weigh over 75,000 pounds when at full capacity. If the operator of the truck crashes into a standard car, this could result in devastating consequences for the occupants of the car, not the truck.

This is why both state and federal governments place harsh rules and regulations on drivers and trucking companies alike to help prevent accidents. HOS (hours-of-service) regulations, which aim to prevent drivers from operating their vehicles while tired, are one such requirement.

Not only can you learn more about truck accident laws here, but you can also get access to experienced truck accident lawyers. These lawyers will know how to explain the importance of hours-of-service regulations.

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) dictates how many hours a truck driver can operate their vehicle within a 7-day, 24-hour time frame. Hours of service rules and regulations are designed to limit and track the number of hours an operator is on the road so that they can ensure they are getting the required rest between shifts.

The Dangers of Fatigued Driving

Operators who do not get enough rest or sleep before driving their trucks can end up driving while tired. Fatigue can affect coordination, concentration, decision-making skills, and reaction time.

When someone who drives a commercial truck is sleep-deprived, they risk falling asleep while on the road. Driver drowsiness, or fatigue, has been likened by many experts to drinking and driving. Why? Because it has the ability to impair the response time of the operator and enhance the risk of getting into an accident.

Trucking companies have the responsibility to make sure that their drivers are following HOS rules and regulations. Drivers should take sufficient rest between shifts so that they’re both alert and awake while behind the wheel.

Proving a HOS Violation

It can be difficult to prove a violation of hours of service. An experienced personal injury lawyer will have extensive knowledge of how the FMCA works. They’ll also typically have the resources needed to investigate the records of the trucking company in question.

Since commercial truck operators are required to track how many hours they’re on the road, their receipts, inspection reports, cell data, electronic records, and logbooks can all be reviewed when it comes to establishing whether there was a violation of HOS rules.

As an accident involving a trailer or truck often leads to serious property damages and injuries, a good personal injury lawyer will also work with accident reconstruction specialists and medical professionals to determine what caused the accident and, in turn, prove damages.

They can review the history of the trucking company involved in the accident in connection with the violations of procedures and policies.

If a connection to the crash and negligence is found, an experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure all your interests are safeguarded, and they’ll do this by bringing a case against either the driver or the company involved in the accident and will even make sure you have proper representation if the case goes to trial.

Trucking Company Liability

You can certainly hold the trucking company liable for any hours-of-service violations if the company should’ve had or had the means to detect instances of violations but didn’t act on them. Under the FMCSR (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations), liability doesn’t depend on whether the company actually knew about the HOS violations.

The aggrieved party may just need to prove that the company had the means to find out whether or not their driver was abiding by the HOS rules and regulations while he was on duty.

Article and permission to publish here provided by Paul Bennet. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on April 26, 2024.

Cover image provided by image by Paul Bennet.