A previous post on this blog discusses the serious hazard driver fatigue causes on Louisiana’s highways and other roads. For instance, a fatigued truck driver can start taking on the driving of habits of someone who is drunk or buzzed. Not surprisingly, fatigued driving is a contributing factor to fatal accidents, including fatal truck accidents.
Although not everyone who drivers a commercial vehicle is necessarily subject to these rules, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict “rest rules” that many drivers, as well as the trucking companies for whom they work, must make sure to follow.
Not following these rules could lead to fines or other administrative problems, including the revocation of a person’s right to provide transportation goods and services. If there has been an accident, a rule violation also can serve as evidence of a driver’s negligence.
To summarize these rules, a trucker hauling property can actually be behind the wheel for 11 hours before having to stop for at least a 10-hour break. These 11 hours do not include stops for the restroom, food, and gas; however, there is also a separate rule stating that a driver cannot continue his or her trip for more than 14 hours after going “on duty”. Once the driver passes 14 hours, he or she must stop for a 10-hour break.
Drivers are also limited to how much time they can travel over the course of a week, or, as the case may be, 8 days. Basically, once a driver has been “on duty” for 60 hours over seven days, then he or she has to take approximately a day and a half off. All of these rules are slightly different when it comes to drivers who are transporting passengers.
An accurate trucking log would easily tell an accident victim whether or not a driver was afoul of these provisions at the time of a wreck. Unfortunately, not all trucking logs are accurate. In any event, though, showing a driver violated a rest rule and proving a negligence case are two different steps, both of which may require the assistance of an experienced Lafayette personal injury attorney.