Any time you come across a tractor-trailer on the roadway, you may grip your steering wheel a little tighter and do your best to get some distance between your vehicle and the truck. This feeling is common among Georgia travelers as a collision with a big rig could cause serious damage and injuries that could be difficult or even impossible to recover from.
Though many truck drivers take their jobs and safety responsibilities seriously, there are some who try to skirt the rules and push the limits in hopes of getting to their destinations more quickly or making more money in a shorter time frame. In some cases, these truck drivers may even break the law.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration puts strict rules on trucking companies and truck drivers in hopes of keeping the roads safe. Among these laws and regulations are the rules dictating the number of hours truck drivers can be on the road and on duty. The hours of service for drivers carrying property include the following:
- Truck drivers have a limit of driving 11 hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
- Truck drivers have a limit of 14 hours for being on duty after an off-duty period of 10 consecutive hours.
- Truck drivers have a limit of 60–70 hours on duty during a 7 to 8-day period.
- After driving for eight cumulative hours, a truck driver must take a 30-minute break from driving.
- If truck drivers are driving in inclement weather, they could extend their driving limit by two hours.
When followed, these regulations could make a considerable difference in ensuring that truck drivers are not overly tired when driving. Unfortunately, many drivers break these rules and get behind the wheel while they are fatigued, and they run the risk of falling asleep while behind the wheel or having slower reaction times in general. Fatigue and sleepiness can easily contribute to a serious truck accident.
Experiencing an accident
If you end up involved in a truck accident that leaves you seriously injured, violations regarding hours-of-service rules could have contributed. You may have reason to take legal action against the driver considered at fault, the company for which the driver works and other liable parties. Personal injury claims involving tractor-trailers can be complex, so it may work to your benefit to have a legal advocate on your side.