Trucking accidents are some of the most dangerous types of motor vehicle accidents. The injuries tend to be very serious. Some are even fatal. In fact, truck accidents have the greatest percentage of fatalities of all types of road accidents.
One reason there are so many tractor trailer accidents is because drivers are overtired and overworked. For normal people, an eight (8) hour work day is normal. Most of us will never know what it’s like to work fourteen hours straight.
Even if we work overtime, we don’t do it every day of the week. For truck drivers, that’s their reality. They’re forced to work long hours most of the time. The extra money is so tempting, they just can’t resist. Or, their employer demands that they work these kinds of hours.
Until recently, there weren’t laws that regulated how long truck drivers could work. However, after seeing how many traffic fatalities were caused by truck drivers, the government put some pretty strict rules into place. There is now a federal law that regulates how many hours a tractor trailer driver can work without a break.
Do Truck Drivers Follow the Law?
Just because these rules exist, doesn’t mean all drivers follow them. Just like with any other law, people break it. Some truck drivers do this intentionally. Others are just doing what their bosses expect of them. Either way, your truck accident lawyer in Boston can cite these laws in order to prove your case.
Truck accident lawyers in Boston know the law. They know what is required of truck drivers. So, when it comes time to prove liability, they can look to the federal rules for help. If a driver is found to have broken the law, it’s per se evidence that they’re liable for your injuries.
What are the Rules for Truck Drivers?
Truck drivers are required to follow regular traffic laws. However, they’re also required to follow the federal laws set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCTA publishes these laws annually so drivers know if they’ve changed. Both truck drivers and employers are required to follow these rules.
These federal laws govern both how many hours a driver works and how they track their hours. If a tractor trailer driver fails to obey these laws, they can lose their commercial driver’s license (CDL.) If this happens, they can lose their jobs. They’ll also be fined.
If your Boston truck accident lawyer can prove a driver didn’t follow these laws, they can use it in court. It serves as proof that the driver was responsible for the crash. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are solely responsible. But it does serve as some pretty strong evidence.
What are the Truck Driving Laws When It Comes to Hours Worked?
Despite what many people think, commercial truck drivers do have rules when it comes to hours worked. Truck drivers aren’t allowed to work more than 14 hours straight. And, only 11 of these 14 hours can be spent actually driving.
The 14-hours rule isn’t based on a 24-hour day. It is based on when your shifts start. So, if you start work at 3 pm, you must stop working no later than 5 am. And, only eleven of these hours can be spent on the road. The rest of the time must be spend loading and unloading trucks or servicing your vehicle.
The law also requires that a driver take at least one break during their 14-hour shift. This break must be at least thirty (30) minutes. The other requirement is that this break be taken before you hit the 8-hour mark.
Your Boston Truck Accident Lawyer Can Check Daily Log Maintenance
Per the federal rules, truck drivers must also maintain accurate and up to date logs. These logs must track the following things:
- 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 these logs aren’t maintained or are inaccurate, your injury attorney in Boston can use it as evidence of liability. If a truck driver isn’t honest about their hours, they could have been overtired at the time of the crash.
These logs can be inspected at any time. If the police stop a truck driver, they may be required to produce these logs. When the police investigate an accident scene, one of the first things they’ll ask to see are the driver’s logs.
If you’re hurt in a truck accident in Boston, you need to contact a Boston injury lawyer right away. If the truck driver was overtired at the time of the crash, your lawyer will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
The initial consultation is free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.