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Hours of Service Laws and Your Truck Accident Claim

Posted on in Personal Injury

Corpus Christi truck accident lawyerWhile car crashes can be devastating, accidents involving a big rig can be devastating on a much larger scale. Multi-vehicle accidents with multiple casualties are a common result when a truck driver fails to drive cautiously. An important part of safe trucking practices are hours of service laws. These laws govern when drivers must take a rest break, and how long that rest break must be. The purpose of these laws is to prevent driver fatigue.

Fatigue is the enemy when you are operating an enormous vehicle capable of causing so much harm. If a truck driver falls asleep even for a moment, he is likely to move out of his lane just enough to cause an accident. One of the first pieces of evidence your attorney may want after a truck accident is the driver’s hours of service log. 

What Are Hours of Service Laws?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets out hours of service regulations. Hours of service represent the amount of time a truck driver can keep driving without making a rest stop. In the past, drivers were not required to take rest breaks, so many of them did not. This led to quite a few needless car crashes when exhausted drivers fell asleep or became hypnotized by the road. 

Now, breaks are not optional. Truck drivers must keep detailed logs showing that they are complying with these important federal regulations. While paper logs can be falsified, most modern trucks are equipped with software that record this data, so accurate information is likely to be discoverable. 

Signs That Your Truck Accident Involved a Fatigued Driver

While there is no roadside test for tiredness, some signs that an hours of service violation may have contributed to the crash include: 

  • Driving out of the lane - If you saw the truck coming toward you from a distance, and it seemed to slowly drift out of its lane until it was entirely in your lane, this may signal that the driver had fallen asleep. The same is often true in side-swipe accidents. 
  • Not remembering - If the truck driver was not able to articulate how the accident happened, even right after it, this could be because the driver was in a tired daze or even asleep. 
  • Rear-end collision - Part of the training a CDL driver goes through involves learning how to stop the truck in time to avoid an accident in a variety of conditions, including downhill and in inclement weather. They also know the following distance they need to use. If you were rear-ended by a semi, it could be because the driver was too exhausted to notice a stop coming. 

If the driver who hit you had violated hours of service laws, proving this fact can help your case significantly. 

Call a Nueces County Truck Accident Lawyer

The Edwards Law Firm is skilled at helping people injured by negligent truckers recover the compensation they need and deserve. Our Corpus Christi truck accident attorneys will look into any potential hours of service violations and more during our investigation. Call 361-698-7600 for a free consultation. 




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