Hours of Service Requirements
Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in the United States. Due to this danger, federal rules govern how long a driver is allowed to be on the road in order to maintain safety. If a driver or a trucking company fails to adhere to hours of service requirements, serious injuries can occur. The Miami truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon can guide victims through all of the stages of a claim, from investigating the cause of a crash to pursuing any necessary litigation against at-fault parties. Our firm is dedicated to making sure that those responsible for creating hazards on the road are held liable for their reckless actions.Establishing Liability for Violations of Hours of Service Requirements
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs trucks and other commercial vehicles that operate in interstate commerce. After finding that fatigue has contributed to a large number of accidents nationwide, the FMCSA set hours of service requirements for drivers that dictate how much time they are allowed to drive in any given day or week while working. Pursuant to these regulations, drivers are restricted to the following:
- Drivers may only drive for a maximum of 11 continuous hours while working a 14-hour day.
- After 11 hours, drivers must take a rest period of 10 hours before resuming driving activities.
- During a seven-day week, trucks may be on the road for between 60 and 77 hours, and between 70 and 88 hours for eight-day periods of time.
- After a driver, and his or her truck, has been off the road for two and a half consecutive days, a week begins at zero hours.
These rules came about after detailed research on the safe operations of commercial motor vehicles. The regulations aim to reduce the number of truck crash fatalities as well as ensure operational efficiency. However, some drivers, as well as their trucking company employers, fail to obey the law when it comes to hours of service requirements, since they are profit-driven and under pressure to meet strict delivery schedules.
Truck crashes can be caused by a multitude of reasons, but they are usually traceable to someone’s negligent actions. A failure to adhere to hours of service requirements may indicate negligence not only on the driver’s behalf but also sometimes on the behalf of a trucking company. Negligence is proven by showing a defendant breached a duty of reasonable care, causing injuries as well as damages. Adhering to hours of service requirements, as well as other laws, is part of adhering to the standard of care, since a reasonable driver or trucking company would make sure to comply with federal regulations.
As a result, an accident caused by a driver’s violation of a trucking regulation may be evidence of his or her negligence. The victim would need to show that he or she would not have been hurt had the driver complied with the regulation. Once negligence is established, accident victims can often receive compensation for past and future medical costs, loss of income, and lost earning capacity, as well as pain and suffering. In some instances, a trucking company also may be directly liable for causing a crash under theories such as negligent hiring, negligent entrustment, or negligent supervision.
Since they involve massive vehicles, truck accidents all too often prove fatal to people in the cars that are struck by trucks. When this happens, the family members of the victim may be able to bring a wrongful death action under Florida law against the driver, the company, and any other party that may have been responsible for their loss. These claims are particularly complex and must be filed within a shorter statute of limitations period, so it is especially important to avoid any delay in seeking legal representation if you are in this unfortunate situation.Consult a Truck Accident Lawyer in Miami
Given the stress of making deliveries speedily and on time, companies and drivers may put others on the road at risk by sidestepping hours of service requirements. The Miami truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon aim to hold those responsible for your injuries liable by taking swift and aggressive legal action. Our motor vehicle collision lawyers serve victims in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and other cities throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, as well as elsewhere in South Florida. Call (877) 499-4878 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.