The FMCSR mandates that motor carriers require every driver to record his or her duty status for a 24‑hour period. These are, we refer to as the “Hours of Service Rules.” A property‑carrying commercial driver may not drive more than 11 hours following 10 consecutive hours off‑duty; may not drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off‑duty; and no driver may drive after being on duty 70 hours in any period of eight consecutive days if the employing carrier operates a commercial vehicle every day of the week.
The purpose of the Hours of Service Rules is to protect public safety by enforcing the maximum hours a driver is permitted to drive.
The driver is required to maintain only the last seven consecutive days’ worth of logs while on duty. The carrier is required to maintain those logs for six months.
Many truckers falsify their log books, making it important to compare log entries with other business documents. If there is an on‑board recording device or satellite communication system, the comparison is much easier.
Even where the driver had only been driving three hours before the crash, there is a good chance can show that the driver actually “out of service.” To do this, we ask for the logs and supporting documentation for at least the preceding eight days.
It’s important to closely examine the “on‑duty‑not‑driving” time, as drivers are notoriously inaccurate in logging on‑duty‑not‑driving time. A recent study by an industry group, the Truckload Carriers Association, shows that drivers spend as much as 33‑44 hours a week waiting to load or unload their cargo. Under the federal regulations, drivers are only allowed to drive 30 or 40 hours in a week in which they accumulate that much on‑duty‑not‑driving time. However, drivers are forced by economic necessity to drive more than 40 hours, meaning that the chances are very high that they are routinely in violation of the Hours of Service Rules.
Even if a driver is within his hours of service, that does not excuse a driver from falling asleep at the wheel. As noted in the regulations above, drivers must pull over to stop and rest if they are too tired to drive. These regulations assume the driver is driving within the proper hours of service limitations.
Hours of Service Rules Documentation Should Be Carefully Examined in All Truck Driving Crashes
The driver and truck company logs of hours driven and other hours of service information should be carefully examined, as driver fatigue is a leading cause of crashes. We do not rely solely on these records as being accurate because of the propensity for truck drivers to falsify the information. We are experienced at uncovering documentation and to independently verifying the accuracy of these records.
Please Contact Our Office Today if you Have Been Injured, Or a Family Member Has Been Killed, In a Truck Crash.
I will explain to you your legal options for recovering against all of those responsible for your damages and injuries. Our firm will work for you on a contingency fee basis, so that you will not owe us any fees until we have achieved a recovery of damages for you.
Once we are retained, we will immediately begin the process of investigating the crash and seeking to obtain and preserve important evidence.