With its wide-open roads, rural Colorado has its fair share of semi-trucks zooming their way across the state. The trained and oftentimes experienced truckers who operate these big rigs should be able to do so safely, especially when they adhere to federal safety regulations. Sadly, though, sometimes truckers don’t abide by the rules imposed upon them, which puts other motorists at greater risk of being injured or killed in an auto accident. When this happens, it becomes imperative for victims and their families to look at the applicable safety regulations to better determine if a trucker failed to abide by them, as doing so can serve as strong evidence supporting a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Perhaps some of the most important trucking regulations are those that pertain to hours of service. According to these regulations, a trucker can only operate his or her vehicle for up to 11 hours after 10 consecutive off-duty hours. The regulations also specify that a trucker cannot drive his or her truck after the 14th hour after going back on shift following the 10-hour rest period. Additionally, a semi-truck can only be in operation if its driver has had an off-duty period or rest break of at least thirty minutes within the last eight hours.
Finally, the regulations specify that a trucker cannot drive more than 60 hours in a period of seven consecutive days, or no more than 70 hours in eight consecutive days. The time period for measuring this time is reset only after a 34-hour off-duty break.
It’s easy to see how the federal government actively tries to prevent truck driver fatigue. Yet, even though truckers are required to keep logs of their on-duty and off-duty shifts, a lot of the system relies on honesty on behalf of truckers. With tight timelines imposed upon them and their pay being tied to the miles they drive, far too often these truckers push the limits of their physical capabilities. This endangers all motorists on the road around them. Those who are injured by one of these truckers should consider the best way to pursue a legal claim in hopes of recovering compensation for damages suffered, which may include subpoenaing a trucker’s log record to determine regulatory compliance.