Truck accidents have many causes. Two common trends among truck accidents, however, are the violation of federal hours-of-service regulations and the falsification of logbooks.
What Are the Hours-of-Service Regulations?
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have put regulations in place to limit the amount of time a trucker may drive without a break. Currently, the hours-of-service regulations are as follows:
For Property-Carrying Drivers:
- Truckers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Truckers may not drive beyond the fourteenth consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Truckers must take a 30-minute break when they have driven for a period of 8 cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption.
- Truckers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
There are several exceptions to these rules, including the following:
- Truckers may extend the 11-hour maximum driving limit by up to 2 hours when adverse driving conditions are encountered.
- Truckers may be exempt from the hours-of-service requirements if they operate within a 150-mile radius of the normal work reporting location and do not exceed a maximum duty period of 14 hours.
Why Do Truckers Falsify Logbooks?
In general, truckers record hours spent doing the following activities in their logbooks: driving, on duty (not driving), sleeper berth, and off duty.
There are several reasons that a trucker may falsify the entries in their logbook, including the following:
- Financial gain. Truckers often get paid for the number of miles driven during their shift. This may incentivize them to record a break in their logbook they didn’t actually take.
- Pressure from the employer. Many trucking companies employ a culture of intimidation to get truckers to drive through their breaks in order to meet delivery deadlines.
- Personal reasons. Some truckers may have unusual sleeping habits and decide to drive through a break when they are not tired.
None of these reasons justify falsifying logbooks. Engaging in this dangerous practice makes it more likely that a trucker will drive while drowsy and endanger other people on the road.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident caused by a drowsy trucker, our San Jose personal injury attorneys are here to help. We can help you recover the compensation you need to move forward.
Call Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP at (800) 900-0863 to schedule a free consultation.