Hours of Service Violations and Truck Accidents

If you've been hurt in a truck accident caused by a driver who violated federal hours of service regulations, Mickey Fine can help you recover compensation.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has adopted rules that are intended to prevent dangerous truck accidents. But unfortunately, some trucking companies push their drivers beyond the limits established by the FMCSA, endangering both the truck drivers and other drivers on the road.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a trucking accident caused by a driver who has violated hours of service regulations, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages. The best way to learn about your rights and options is to speak with Mickey Fine in person. Please call (661) 333-3333 today arrange your free truck accident consultation at our Bakersfield personal injury office.

What are the Hours of Service Rules?

Generally speaking, hours of service rules limit truck drivers to 11 hours of driving per day and limit the total workday to 14 hours. Fundamental rules also include the following:

  • The maximum work week for a commercial truck driver is 70 hours in 8 consecutive days or 60 hours in 7 consecutive days.
  • Truck drivers must take at least one 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.
  • A truck driver who reaches the maximum work week total of 60 or 70 hours must rest for at least 34 consecutive hours before resuming work. This rest period must include at least two nights including the period from 1:00 am to 5:00 am.

These regulations are clearly in place to limit truck driver fatigue and promote truck safety, as well as the safety of other drivers and passengers on the road.

To Whom do the Rules Apply?

The hours of service rules apply to all commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). A CMV is any vehicle that is used as part of a business for the purposes of interstate commerce and satisfies any of the following criteria:

  • Gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Gross vehicle or combination weight rating of at least 10,000 pounds.
  • Transports 9 or more passengers for compensation or more than 15 passengers not for compensation
  • Transports hazardous materials

By these criteria, virtually all commercial trucks must obey the hours of service rules, as well as most motor coaches and many large, commercial passenger vans and box trucks.

What Happens when Drivers Violate these Rules?

These regulations are intended to ensure that operators of heavy commercial vehicles receive sufficient rest to be able to do their jobs safely. Unfortunately, some drivers push beyond the limits in an attempt to get in one last delivery or make just a few more miles. Some are encouraged to do so by the companies they work for.

When drivers fail to follow these safety regulations, the results can be disastrous. Commercial vehicles can easily weigh more than 5-10 times as much as a standard passenger vehicle, and when a truck collides with a smaller vehicle in a truck accident, the truck usually wins.

If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a trucker who has chosen to break the rules, you have a right to recover damages. Please contact The Law Offices of Mickey Fine today to schedule a free case evaluation with our Bakersfield truck accident lawyer.