Truck drivers provide an important service to the country. They are an integral part of the chain of commerce that ensures that Columbia residents have access to the goods and supplies they need to live and thrive. They often drive long distances with large loads that they must deliver on specific timetables.
Unfortunately, some trucking and delivery companies impose unrealistic and even dangerous schedules on drivers that put them in difficult constraints to drive safely but also meet their deadlines. Drivers may elect to drive through their exhaustion just to make a delivery on time. However, as South Carolina residents know, driving while exhausted can be deadly.
This post will introduce readers generally to hours of service regulations for commercial and truck drivers. This post does not provide legal advice but encourages victims of truck accidents to understand their rights to compensation when their losses are caused by negligent drivers and trucking companies. Dedicated personal injury attorneys can assist victims with their pending claims.
FMCSA Rules for commercial and truck drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the governmental body that regulates commercial and truck drivers. The regulations apply to drivers who haul property or cargo, as well as drivers who operate large buses. Whether a driver hauls property or people will influence what hours of service they are bound to follow.
Drivers of property, for example, are mandated to take specific types of breaks. A driver cannot operate for more than 11 consecutive hours and must take specific out-of-cab breaks to sleep and rest before they may begin operating again. Within seven-to-eight day periods, drivers are limited in how long they may operate, and when they need to take more than a day off before getting back in their rigs to drive. Generally, driving limits for passenger-carrying vehicles are lower than those for property-carrying rigs.
Why hours of service rules matter
Hours of service regulations are mandates to keep truckers and everyone else on the road with them safe. Truckers must record their periods of driving and periods of rest in a log that can be reviewed in the event the trucker is involved in a motor vehicle accident. When a truck driver causes a crash that is suspected to have happened because of their exhaustion, their driving log may be a critical piece of evidence in a victim’s case for the recovery of their damages.
A knowledgeable and supportive personal injury lawyer can help their client understand what options then have when they are involved in a damaging truck crash. Whether the cause is exhaustion or something else, a victim’s lawyer can advocate for their needs and rights under the law. Personal injury claims arising from truck accidents are subject to statutes of limitations, and victims of truck accidents can benefit from speaking with legal professionals early to understand their options.