Despite the numerous federal statutes in place which govern commercial truck drivers, the fact is that at any given time there are hundreds of drivers on the road who are exhausted and have driven without the required number of hours of rest. Commercial long-haul truckers work long hours, and average around 2500 miles per week when first starting out, with more experienced drivers racking up even more miles. The driver faces demands from customers who wants their product on time, demands from the trucking company (which only makes money when the driver is on the road), and even from their own family since the trucker gets paid by the mile. Do drivers falsify their logbooks?
Trucking companies have been known to turn a blind eye to the number of hours their drivers are putting in behind the wheel because their focus is on their financial bottom line. In the attempt to meet the deadlines and demands, drivers frequently drive without the rest they so desperately need. Currently Federal regulations allow commercial drivers to drive 11 hours within a fourteen-hour period after taking ten consecutive hours off for rest. They are not allowed to drive more than 60 hours within a week or 70 hours within eight days. While most long-haul truckers sleep in sleeper berths, they can be a difficult place to get a truly restful sleep. There is a movement in the works to lower the eleven hours to ten with a goal of creating an environment where truck drivers are rested, alert, and focused on the safety of those around them.
Do drivers falsify their logbooks? Unfortunately, falsified logbooks are so common as to be almost a non-issue with trucking companies. In many cases drivers routinely keep two sets of logbooks, allowing them to drive longer periods than allowed under Federal guidelines. The number of logbook violations which are actually discovered each year numbers nearly a quarter of a million, while those which go undetected account for an untold number. Employers are only required to preserve and keep comprehensive time records for six months. These records must show when the driving time started, finished, and the total hours driving each day. If a driver does not get caught violating the allotted hours during that six months, then the records can be destroyed and no one is the wiser.
Most people underestimate the physical and mental intensity it requires to drive a truck which can weigh 30,000 pounds without a load and all the way up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. Many of the loads contain hazardous materials, making an accident all the more serious. More than 4000 people are killed each year in accidents involving commercial trucks, and over seventy percent of those are the occupants or drivers of the passenger vehicles.
The National Transportation Safety Board estimates that as many as forty percent of all trucking accidents are a result of driver fatigue. When you are out on the road driving and find yourself becoming very sleepy, you can simply pull over and get a catnap. The truck driver, however, is under a strict deadline, and must make that fifty, one hundred or even more miles before he or she can rest. Even one second of distraction or nodding off can result in an accident which has tragic consequences.
If you have been involved in an accident with a large commercial truck in Denver, it is vitally important that you receive knowledgeable legal assistance. Trucking accidents are different and more complex than traditional passenger vehicle accidents, and come with specific statute of limitations as well. There can be multiple defendants in a trucking accident—the trucking company, the driver, and possibly the manufacturer of the truck or a truck component as well. A highly experienced truck accident attorney can fight aggressively for your rights while you heal from your accident and attempt to regain your life. Contact the law firm of Fuicelli & Lee, PC, for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award. Call our office at 303-355-7202 or fill out our confidential contact form.
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