A drowsy or fatigued truck driver is often suspected of being the cause of a semi-trailer crash. Trucking companies are under increased pressure to meet strict delivery deadlines. They often delegate that duty over onto drivers who are typically paid either based on mileage or the job being accomplished.
Truck Drivers Won’t Admit to Violations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has imposed set hours of service behind the wheel limits, but those are often ignored by drivers because of impending deadlines. What comes to issue is that it’s highly unlikely that a truck driver will admit to being fatigued, drowsy or even falling asleep at the wheel immediately before a crash. That’s why a thorough investigation must be performed in order to learn exactly how long a driver was behind the wheel of a truck before a crash occurred. All documentary evidence, logbooks and electronic data must be scrutinized.
How Long Can a Truck Driver Stay on the Road For?
Here are two general rules in connection with how long federal regulations allow a truck driver to be behind the wheel for:
- 60 hours in seven days, or 70 hours in eight days. Then, 34 hours of down time is required.
- After 10 hours of being off duty, a driver can get back behind the wheel for 11 hours.
Proving That A Driver Exceeded Hours of Service
Trucking companies and commercial drivers are required to leave an electronic or trail behind them. Every one of those pieces of electronic data or paper is possible evidence that might help prove that the trucker who injured you or ended the life of your family member violated the rules governing hours of service. Here are some of the tracks that are left on that trail:
- GPS Data: This might show that the driver covered more miles than a person could possibly drive without exceeding hours of service regulations.
- Handwritten Logbooks: Careful examination of these might show inaccurate information and entries.
- The Truck’s “Black Box” Information: Strong inferences might be made if this information is in conflict with logbook information and driver testimony.
- Cell Phone and Infotainment Center Information: Any calls, texts or emails might be time and location stamped.
A dedicated, aggressive and experienced truck accident attorney in Maricopa County knows how to draw the timeline necessary to prove hours of service violations that lead to fatigue, drowsiness and falling asleep at the wheel. If you were injured in a semi-truck crash, or if you lost a family member as a result of one anywhere in or around Phoenix, contact Tobler Law at 480-898-9700, and you can arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. We’re available 24 hours a day.