One possible cause of a commercial semi-truck accident in Massachusetts is truck driver fatigue. Truckers are under tremendous pressure to complete routes and deliver loads within strict time constraints, and they often drive longer than they should in order to meet deadlines. This is despite federal regulations that limit the number of hours a trucker can drive without a rest break. Any crash involving a semi-truck should be investigated for an hours of service violation.
Federal Hours of Service Laws
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) dictates how frequently a commercial driver must take breaks while on duty. Hours of service (HOS) rules for large vehicle operators hauling property (not passengers) include the following:
- May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
- May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.
- May not drive after 60–70 hours on duty in 7–8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7–8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty
These rules may be confusing to a layperson, but truck drivers and their employers are well aware of what they mean. In fact, truckers must use an electronic logging device to track their on- and off-duty hours.
How Mahaney & Pappas Will Prove the Trucker Was Drowsy
If you were injured in a crash with a commercial truck, your personal injury attorney will determine if the driver violated HOS regulations by examining:
- Electronic logging devices. Almost all commercial truck operators are required to have this device installed in their truck. It automatically logs active hours.
- GPS devices. Records of where the truck was at certain times can help investigators track the trip and when or if the driver stopped and rested.
- Cell phone records. Was the driver on their phone during reported rest time? Cell phone records can help an investigator piece together what the driver was doing when.
- Pre- and post-trip inspection records. Looking at inspection reports to determine when a trip started and ended can provide a timeframe that could prove an HOS violation.
- Receipts. Hotel and restaurant receipts—or a lack of such receipts—can be important pieces of evidence if an HOS violation is suspected.
Your attorney will issue a legal demand for these records. If they prove the trucker violated HOS regulations, the operator, their employer, and possible additional parties should be held accountable for your injuries.
Our Truck Accident Lawyers Look Out for Commercial Truck Accident Victims
If you were injured in a crash with a semi-truck, schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with our truck accident lawyers today. We'll evaluate your case and let you know how we can help. We take accident cases on a contingent-fee basis, which means you don’t pay us until and unless we win. Start a chat or fill out our contact form to get started right away.