Few things are more frightening on the road than the prospect of a crash involving a semi-truck. These enormous vehicles dwarf most other automobiles and are therefore more likely to cause severe injuries and fatalities in collisions. In fact, according to data, large truck crashes are continuing to rise throughout the United States, even as other types of crashes decline. The reason for the increase in truck crashes is not entirely clear, but it is unnerving. There is some indication that large trucks are not benefitting from the same safety technology that is helping other drivers avoid crashes. New passenger vehicles are being outfitted with all sorts of improved technology. However, large trucks are behind the times when it comes to these systems. Without safety features like automatic emergency braking, safety related to large trucks is entirely dependent on the driver.
Of course, handling a large truck is not easy, and it requires focus, attention, and skill. Fatigued drivers will not be able to safely operate their vehicles. Unfortunately, regulations for truck drivers create expectations that make it difficult for these drivers to get the rest they need. Even the restrictions based on hours of service do not adequately prevent drivers from being overworked. When truck drivers are fatigued, they create dangers for everyone on the road, not just themselves.
In theory, trucking regulations are designed to prevent drivers from being overworked. In practice, the regulations still allow for shifts that are strenuous and exhausting, and that can result in overtired drivers. Both fatigue and drug use by drivers who wish to stay awake when their bodies are too tired are major hazards on the road.
If you were injured in a crash involving a large truck in Tampa, contact the Durham Law Group today at 813-333-6250 for a consultation with an experienced Tampa truck accident attorney.
Regulations and Record-Keeping
When it comes to hours of service regulations, the system used to function primarily with the use of logbooks that truckers would fill in to keep track of their hours at work. The logbook must indicate that the driver was not violating the eleven-hour limit on driving and fourteen hours working. Once the driver meets the eleven-hour maximum, the remaining hours can be used for other work-related tasks. The driver then must take a minimum of ten hours off of work before driving again. The book must account for all hours in a day. Of course, it is possible to fabricate a logbook and violate the rules. Drivers are under tremendous pressure to transport goods as quickly as possible, and that pressure can motivate them to try to manipulate their hours of service regulations. Modern trucks often have electronic systems that automatically log hours and make it more difficult to manipulate or falsify the records.
Crashes with Fatigued Drivers
If you were in a crash involving a large commercial truck, it is worth it to determine whether that driver violated the hours of service rules. In the case of electronic data, such information might be easily accessed. In cases where a logbook is used, there are still ways to determine whether the driver told the truth in the records. For instance, if the driver’s receipts or other evidence of where the driver was at any given time do not match up to the book, there could be an indication that the driver violated the regulations and was likely fatigued when the collision took place. After all, tired drivers are not as attentive, and truck drivers who violate their hours are service regulations are more likely to fall asleep or nod off behind the wheel.
Following a truck crash, finding a violation of hours of service regulations shows that the driver violated the law and can help you make your case against that driver. There are other ways to show that the driver violated the rules as well, such as by looking at cell phone records to determine if the driver was on the phone or looking into the maintenance records for the truck to learn whether the truck was in proper working order.
Truck Crash Claims and Evidence
When a truck is involved in a crash, there is a lot at stake for the driver and the company. Truck companies will have resources at their disposal in trying the case and will have a strong motivation to avoid liability. Hiring an attorney will ensure that you have an advocate looking out for your interests and investigating any suspicious evidentiary issues.
Call the Durham Law Group Today for Help After a Truck Crash in Tampa
At the Durham Law Group, we know that truck crashes are some of the most catastrophic collisions to occur on the road. If you suffered injuries in an accident with a large commercial truck, you need a strong advocate fighting to protect your rights and to get you the help that you need. Call us today at 813-333-6250 to speak to a dedicated Tampa, Florida truck crash attorney.