Truckers get paid to drive. When they’re not driving and delivering their cargo, they’re not getting paid. When they miss deadlines set by trucking companies, they lose money.
Unfortunately, this creates a big incentive for drivers to “keep on trucking” even when they are exhausted – which puts you, me, and everyone else on the road in danger.
Large trucks or buses were involved in almost 4,000 fatal accidents and 476,000 fatal crashes in 2015, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The U.S. Department of Transportation has estimated that 13 percent of accidents involving large trucks involve driver fatigue.
How Long Are Truckers Allowed to Stay Behind the Wheel?
This is why there are federal rules governing how long truckers can drive before resting.
Here’s a summary of the Hours of Service Regulations for drivers of property-carrying trucks:
- Truckers can drive a maximum of 11 hours after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours.
- Truckers are not allowed to drive after being on duty for 14 hours, even if during their on-duty time they have not driven the maximum 11 hours.
- Truckers are not allowed to drive if more than eight hours have passed since their last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of a half-hour or more.
- Truckers are not allowed to drive after they’ve been on duty for 60 hours in any seven-day period, or 70 hours in any eight-day period, depending on which rule the trucking company sticks to. When they’ve reached the maximum, drivers must take a minimum of 34 hours off duty, and then the 60/7 or 70/8 clock resets.
- There is an exception when bad weather will not allow a trucker to safely pull over at a hotel, rest stop, or other appropriate resting place. Truckers can drive for two-hours beyond the 11- hour limit to find a safe stopping place, but they must stop at the first safe opportunity.
There are also separate Hours of Service Regulations for drivers of passenger-carrying trucks:
- Drivers can drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.
- Drivers are not allowed to drive after 15 hours on duty following eight hours of consecutive time off duty.
- Drivers must follow the same 60/7 or 70/8 rules that property-carrying truck drivers are required to follow.
How Does This Help My SC Trucking Accident Case?
If you are injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, your SC personal injury attorney will be looking for any evidence of fatigue, violation of trucking regulations, or other evidence of negligence on the part of the driver or company.
Because driver fatigue is such a common cause of trucking accidents, we will look at the truck’s event data recorder (aka the black box) to see if the driver violated the Hours of Service Regulations. We will also examine the driver’s logs, any dashcam footage, and weigh station receipts.
Whether the driver was fatigued or not, the trucking company may still be liable for the accident and your injuries. We will dig into the company’s hiring practices to see if they complied with federal rules. We will also determine if driver negligence, poor training, or inadequate vehicle maintenance played a part in the accident.
If the driver or the trucking company failed to comply with federal regulations, it is evidence that the driver or company negligently caused the crash, making them liable for the damage that they caused.
Car Crash and Trucking Accident Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston, SC
Your Myrtle Beach Trucking Accident Attorneys at Coastal Law will help you to find the evidence that you need to prove that the truck driver and trucking company are liable for the crash and the injuries that they caused.
Call us now at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.