Statistically, truck accidents are among the most devastating traffic collisions. Semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and commercial freight-carrying vehicles are massive machines that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. When they are involved in accidents with passenger carrying cars, motorcycles, or bicycles, there is a high potential for personal injury and even wrongful death. Because of these elevated risks, the trucking industry is heavily regulated.
There are many potential causes of truck accidents, and many laws and regulations designed to address them. Among the most alarming causes are fatigued or overworked truck drivers. In recent years, several studies have found evidence that driving tired is as dangerous – if not more so – than driving drunk. When a tired driver who has slowed reaction times and difficulty staying awake is behind the wheel of a large truck, the risk for devastation increases dramatically.
Because these risks are so large, the federal trucking industry regulates the amount of time drivers are permitted to be on the road and on duty. These regulations are known as Hours-of-Service Rules and include the following points for commercial freight carrying vehicles involved in interstate travel:
- Truck drivers may only drive if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of their last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.
- Drivers may only drive a maximum of 11 hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours
- No driving permitted after the 14th consecutive hour on duty
- No driving permitted after 60 / 70 hours on duty in a 7 / 8 day period
These and other Hours-of-Service Rules are crucial to public safety. When trucking companies or drivers fail to abide by these federal laws, they place others on the road at serious risk. When a tired driver causes an accident that injures victims, they can potentially be held liable for any physical, financial, or emotional damages that result.
Although injured victims and families have legal pathways available to hold trucking companies and drivers liable, truck accident claims can entail a number of challenges. This is because truck companies fight claims aggressively to reduce compensation they pay victims. At Ventura Injury Law Group, our Ventura truck accident lawyers have the experience and resources to handle complex truck accident claims.
If you would like to learn more about your rights and how our firm can help fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve, call (800) 462-7160 for a free consultation.