The Hours of Service (HoS) Regulations were introduced to prevent fatigue-related accidents by restricting the number of hours a commercial driver can spend behind the wheel. If you were injured in a semi-truck crash, the Missouri personal injury attorneys at Gump & Faiella can investigate your case to determine if the driver violated the HoS Regulations.
You may be entitled to compensation for healthcare expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. To discuss your case with a truck accident lawyer, call 800-264-3455 for a free initial consultation.
What Constitutes a Violation of HoS Regulations?
The Hours of Service Regulations prohibit commercial truckers from driving more than 11 hours over a 14-hour shift. They also cannot drive more than 14 hours in a single shift including breaks and meals. Drivers must take a break every 8 hours, and when a shift ends, they must take at least 10 consecutive hours off the road. There are other limitations on the number of hours commercial drivers can work each week.
Unfortunately, truck drivers have financial incentive to stay on the road for longer periods than allowed by law. This can lead to fatigue, which has similar effects on driving performance as alcohol including delayed reaction time, poor decision-making, and inattention. Drowsy driving is a contributing factor in nearly 13% of all commercial truck accidents, and passenger-vehicle occupants accounted for about 66% of truck accident fatalities in 2016.
How to Prove Negligence After a Drowsy Driving Truck Accident
As you may suspect, commercial drivers who violate the Hours of Service Regulations are unlikely to fess up to their wrongdoing. Fortunately, an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to use the driver’s Hours of Service log and black box data to prove the infraction.
Big-rig drivers must keep a log of the hours they spend behind the wheel; however, truckers who violate the HoS Regulations often alter their logbook to cover it up. The attorneys at Gump & Faiella will evaluate not only the driver’s logbook but also the vehicle’s event data recorder (EDR) to find out if an HoS violation did in fact occur.
The EDR, or “black box,” records information about a driver’s performance including high speed, average speed, and hours spent on the road. The black box data may show that the vehicle was being driven during hours when the trucker claims to have been resting.
Drive cam evidence can be critical in proving fatigue or inattention
Many trucking company’s are also using drive cameras to monitor drivers and the roads. These devices are “instant record” and record events such as a hard brake application or collision. Based upon the way the device works it captures several seconds of video before and after the accident. Getting the drive cam video before it is lost or erased can be critical.
Other evidence your injury lawyer may use to prove negligence includes:
- The police report;
- Witness testimony;
- Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert;
- Photos of the crash scene;
- Dashcam or surveillance footage of the wreck; and
- Timelines and illustration.
Discuss Your Case with a Missouri Truck Accident Attorney Today!
If you were severely injured or lost a family member in a truck accident, contact Gump & Faiella to discuss your case. We can help you avoid costly mistakes like making a recorded statement, accepting a settlement too early, or overlooking non-economic damages. Call us today at 800-264-3455 to schedule a free consultation.