A combination of factors has led to a trucker shortage in the United States. The American Trucking Association (ATA) projected approximately 80,000 truck driver job vacancies in the U.S. in 2021. The ATA expects that number to grow to 160,000 by 2030.
The ATA claims that about 72.2% of all American freight is moved using trucks, demonstrating that despite labor shortages, long-haul trucking is still the lifeblood of the American economy.
However, with a shortage of new drivers, trucking companies may pressure truckers to pick up the slack by taking on an unsafe number of hours, leading to an increased risk of accidents.
Learn how a truck driver’s hours can impact your injury case and how Fieger Law can help if you have been injured in a truck accident.
Truck Driver Hour Regulations
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has created service hour regulations for truck drivers to prevent fatigue-related accidents. Under the DOT’s regulations, drivers must follow the following work-hour limits, including the following:
- 11-hour driving limit: Truck operators can’t drive for more than 11 hours following 10 hours off-duty.
- 14-hour driving window limit: Truck drivers may not drive after 14 hours have elapsed since they came on duty.
- 30-minute break mandate: If a driver has driven for 8 consecutive hours without at least 30 consecutive minutes of non-driving time, they must take a 30-minute driving break.
- 60/70 hour limit: Drivers may not drive after they accumulating 60 working hours in 7 days or 70 working hours in 8 days. To restart the clock, drivers must take an off-period of at least 34 hours.
If you are injured in a trucking accident, call Fieger Law. Our lawyers can investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash to determine if the driver violated any DOT regulations to help you get compensation.
What Happens When Truck Drivers Break the Rules?
Truck drivers who fail to follow the DOT’s regulations put themselves at a higher risk of being involved in an accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that fatigue contributed to 18,000 truck accidents, 13% of the total trucking accidents between April 2001 and December 2003.
FMCSA also found that fatigue was among the most common contributing factors to truck accidents, with a fatigued truck driver increasing the risk of an accident by 8%.
Call Fieger Law today if you have been involved in a trucking accident with a fatigued driver. Our experienced truck accident lawyers will investigate the circumstances of the accident and determine if fatigue was a contributing factor to the accident.
Who is Liable for Your Injuries in a Truck Accident?
If you are involved in a truck accident with a driver who has violated the DOT’s work-hour regulations, the driver’s employer may be liable for any injuries you’ve sustained. Determining liability in a drowsy truck driver case depends on the nature of the accident and the driver’s employment classification.
- Truck Driver
Under certain circumstances, the truck driver may be liable for your injuries in a drowsy driving accident. If the driver fails to adhere to DOT regulations and company policies and has no history of violating the rules, the driver may be liable. You may be able to seek compensation through the truck driver’s insurance company if they are a private contractor instead of an employee of a trucking company.
- Trucking Company
In most circumstances, the trucking company that employs the drowsy driver will be liable for your injuries. Trucking companies are responsible for tracking truck drivers’ hours and ensuring they are not violating regulations. Truckers and their employers must keep records of hours worked, typically electronically.
If a trucking company does not have these records or your lawyer finds evidence that they have pushed their drivers to violate driving hours, you may be able to seek a settlement from them.
Schedule a Free Consultation for Your Truck Accident Case
If you are involved in an accident with a fatigued driver, contact Fieger Law immediately. Our Michigan truck accident attorneys will gather and analyze all available evidence, including the truck driver’s logbook, eyewitness testimony, physical evidence at the crash scene, and dash or traffic cameras, to determine if the truck driver was violating DOT regulations.
You may be entitled to compensation if the driver has surpassed the hours of service regulations and caused an accident. We handle truck accidents anywhere in the United States and will fight to get you a fair settlement.
Contact Fieger Law today and schedule a free no-obligation consultation to start your injury case.