Decade after decade, countless truck accidents in Kentucky and across the United States have shown the true dangers of tractor trailers. While these vehicles are an absolute necessity to the wellbeing of the country’s economy, they pose a serious hazard to everyone around them on the road. As such, the U.S. Government and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have created in-depth regulations for both truck drivers and trucking companies, which they continue to evolve in order to make roads safer.
Whether you or a loved one has been in an accident, or if you are simply a driver who wants to stay safe, it is vital that you understand FMCSA regulations. By doing so, you can know when a trucker is violating the law and is therefore endangering you or your family.
If you have been harmed in a big rig crash, get in touch with Kentucky FMCSA regulation violations attorney Tad Thomas through a free consultation at (877) 955-7001. The insight you receive comes from years of legal success and will help you make the right decisions when it comes to holding trucking companies responsible for the crash that has harmed you.
What are FMCSA Regulations?
Since semi trucks frequently cross the borders of multiple states in a single trip, it is up to the United States federal government to regulate these workers and their companies. Additionally, more than 600 people are killed in large truck crashes every year, while approximately 25,000 are injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). With so many harmed every year, it is up to government agencies to try and prevent as many crashes as possible.
While state governments also create their own regulations, the legal guidelines that truckers drive under are determined and enforced by the FMCSA. These classify which vehicles are subjected to regulations and what behaviors are deemed illegal behind the wheel. The agency also creates and imposes penalties for those who violate their laws.
By law, truck drivers and trucking companies are required to follow FMCSA laws, but they often violate these regulations in order to speed up delivery times and increase profits.
Some of the most important regulations imposed by the FMCSA are found in the Hours-of-Service (HOS). These govern how long a truck driver can be on the road and what breaks he or she must take in order to once again begin the workday. These hours must be logged and submitted throughout the year, proving that truckers and their employers are complying with the law.
- Rest Breaks – Truckers can drive up to eight hours before being required to take a break that lasts at least 30 minutes. These breaks are designed to keep drivers awake and alert while on the road and prevent the effects of driving for too long in one sitting.
- 34-Hour Restarts – Truckers need to take a 34-hour break, known as a restart, between work weeks. This restart must cover the time between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. twice and can only be used once per week.
- Daily Driving Limits – Truckers carrying property only, not passengers, can be on duty for 14 consecutive hours after being off duty for at least 10 straight hours. Additionally, a trucker can only drive for a maximum of 11 hours during this work day.
- Total Work Week Limits – During a seven-day work week, a trucker can only drive a maximum of 60 hours. During an eight-day work week, a trucker can drive a maximum of 70 hours. These work weeks restart with the 34-hour break.
These rules are in place to prevent dangerous driving habits, such as operating a truck while tired or sleepy. While they are not perfect, it is most often truck drivers who violate these laws that drive dangerously and are the most likely to cause a devastating crash. If you are the victim of a crash, finding and proving that the trucker violated HOS rules is a major step in proving fault in your injury case.
Protecting Your Rights, Protecting Your Future
Louisville tractor trailer accident attorney Tad Thomas has represented countless people who have been seriously harmed by reckless truck drivers and companies. If you or a loved one is the victim of a truck accident, do not wait to call the Thomas Law Offices at (877) 955-7001 and receive a free consultation on your legal case. The knowledge and insight you gain can help you protect your rights both now and in the years to come.