3 FAQs about Truck Accidents Caused by Hours-of-Service Violations
A sleep-deprived truck driver poses a serious threat to others on the road. Research on drowsy driving has likened the effects of high fatigue to getting behind the wheel while over the legal blood-alcohol limit.
In a bid to deter commercial truckers from driving while drowsy, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration introduced the Hours-of-Service (HoS) regulations. Simply put, these rules put a hard cap on the amount of time a commercial driver can spend on the road before they have to stop and rest.
Unfortunately, as drivers are often under extreme time pressure to make deliveries, and some can even boost their income by completing trips quickly, it’s not unusual for truckers to violate these rules. As such, if you were injured in a collision with a big rig, there’s a chance that he or she may have failed to comply with federal HoS regulations.
In this article, we answer common questions about hours-of-service violations and what to do if you’re involved in a collision with a commercial vehicle.
1. What Are Hours-of-Service Regulations?
Driving while fatigued is incredibly dangerous. High levels of drowsiness can make you less attentive, slow your reaction times, and affect your ability to make decisions. Combine this cocktail of dangerous side-effects with the size and raw tonnage of the average commercial vehicle, and you have a recipe for disaster.
To reduce the risk of fatigue-related accidents, truck drivers are required to comply with Hours-of-Service regulations. These regulations govern the working hours of anyone operating a commercial vehicle. Drivers are limited to a certain amount of time on the road and must take regular rests.
However, as these regulations rely on a self-reporting system to determine how many hours a driver has been on-duty and off, it’s possible for truck drivers and/or their employers to forge these records to make it seem like they are compliant.
2. How Can I Prove an Hours-Of-Service Violation?
It’s not uncommon for truck drivers to violate hours-of-service regulations and cause accidents. However, proving that a violation occurred can be a difficult task. An attorney will have to investigate the accident thoroughly, using many different types of evidence to prove that the driver was negligent, such as:
- Hours of Service logbook entries;
- Black box data;
- Weigh station receipts;
- Surveillance camera footage;
- Cellphone call and text logs; and
- GPS data showing the truck’s coordinates prior to the accident.
3. What Should I Do If I Was Injured in a Collision with a Drowsy Truck Driver?
If you were hurt in a truck wreck, it’s important to consider your next actions carefully. The steps you take immediately after an accident could help strengthen your personal injury claim and reduce the risk of facing disputes.
Let’s take a look at a few of these steps here:
- Document the Scene: If you are physically able to do so, you should take photographs of the scene, take down the contact details of any eyewitnesses, and exchange insurance information with the truck driver. You should also write a firsthand account of what happened to ensure that your memories of the collision are preserved.
- Seek Medical Treatment: Undergoing a prompt medical assessment could help your lawyer connect your injuries to the crash.
- Deactivate Your Social Media Profiles: The truck company’s insurer may monitor your social media accounts to find evidence that could be used to challenge your case. As such, you should disable your accounts until your case has concluded.
- Do Not Provide a Recorded Statement: It’s possible that the insurer could misrepresent your statements to challenge your credibility. You should let your attorney handle all dialogue with opposing parties.
Discuss Your Claim with a New Jersey Truck Accident Attorney
If you were injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you may be able to recover compensation by filing a personal injury claim against the driver and their employer. At the Clark Law Firm, we can help investigate the wreck, assess the available evidence, and consult with expert witnesses if necessary to determine whether any Hours-of-Service violations occurred. Reach out to us at 877-841-8855 or tap through to our Contact Page to schedule a free case review today.