Truck accidents are the deadliest of all motor vehicle accidents. The truck driver usually walks away from the accident with a few bruises. It’s the passenger vehicle who ends up in the hospital. Their injuries are usually very serious, even fatal and it is usually hard to prove who is at fault.
It’s not that truck drivers are reckless. Most work really hard. They try to be careful. But so many of them are overworked and overtired. Most of us work eight hours a day and go home. It’s not the same for truck drivers. Many of them have to work tons of overtime. They need the money and their bosses require it.
Some of us work overtime. But we usually do it every now and then. And, we typically don’t work 14-hour shifts. Truck drivers are forced to work long shifts. And many of them work for a week or two without a day off.
It’s no surprise, then, that they get into accidents from time to time. This is why there are now federal rules governing the hours that truck drivers can work. After noticing just how many trucking accidents there are every year, the government decided to do something about it.
Most Truck Drivers Do Follow the Law
Most truck drivers do follow the rules. But, like every other driver, a few bad apples can ruin the whole bunch. Some tractor trailer drivers don’t do what they’re supposed to do. Some of them know the rules but need the money too bad. They choose overtime because it’s too tempting.
Others are just careless by nature. They don’t get their trucks services the way they should. Or they don’t take their required breaks. Either way, if they don’t follow the rules, they can be fined. They can even lose their commercial driver’s license (CDL.) Regardless of the reason, your Virginia Beach truck accident lawyer will work hard to prove it.
Truck accident lawyers in Virginia Beach know the rules governing truck drivers. They also know how to prove that a driver didn’t follow the rules. This can be the difference between winning your case and losing.
What are the Federal Guidelines for Truck Drivers?
The federal rules for truck drivers are written and maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCTA publishes the rules every year. Truck drivers are required to know the rules and follow them.
The FMCTA’s rules control how many hours a driver can work. They also require drivers to maintain logs of their miles, hours, and truck service. If your truck accident lawyer in Virginia Beach can show that a driver broke these rules, they’ll use it to prove your case.
Truck Drivers are Only Allowed to Work a Certain Number of Hours
The general rule is that tractor trailer drivers can’t work more than 14 hours straight. Only 11 of these hours can be on the road. The rest have to be spent loading and unloading trucks or servicing their vehicles.
Drivers are also required to take a break after 8 hours. the break has to be at least thirty minutes long. The reason for this is so that drivers don’t get overtired while behind the wheel.
Can Your Lawyer Check the Driver’s Logs?
It’s not just hours that are controlled by the federal rules. They also have to keep logs of their hours worked. There are strict requirements regarding these logs. For example, the logs must include the following:
- Shifts worked for each day (including start and stop times)
- The number of hours and miles driven during that shift
- The time and duration of any breaks
- How non-driving time was spent
- The times and dates of any servicing done on the truck
- Results from mandatory weigh-ins
If the logs aren’t accurate, of if a driver doesn’t complete them, it can be used against them in court. Your Virginia Beach truck accident lawyer can use this information in court to prove negligence. Of course, you’ll need more than just proof of a rules violation to win your case. However, it’s a good start to show that the driver ignored these mandatory guidelines.
Since the logs can be checked at any time, if you get into a truck accident, the police can inspect the driver’s logs. In fact, one of the first things the cops may ask to see if the driver’s logs. This will give them an idea of how many hours the driver’s been on duty. It will also show if the truck has been maintained recently.
If you get hurt in a Virginia Beach truck accident, call a truck accident lawyer at CAIL. They can review your case and let you know what it may be worth. The initial consultation is absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.