Working in the trucking industry can be stressful and demanding. Trucking companies are under pressure to keep up with the demands of their customers and truckers are under pressure to deliver products safely and on time. And, as is the case with just about any business, it’s all about making money.
This is why some companies try to get around certain regulations or rules that might cost them money. For example, right now there is a serious shortage of qualified truck drivers. Rather than risk losing profits, some companies make or allow some dangerous decisions. For instance, truck drivers may stay behind the wheel much longer than they should in an attempt to keep up with deliveries. Sadly, the victims who are injured in truck accidents caused by these drivers often pay the price for these decisions.
In an effort to combat this practice of driving too long, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces strict Hours of Service regulations in the trucking industry to prevent fatigued driving.
These regulations set specific limits regarding when a trucker must take a break and how long that break must be. They restrict the number of consecutive hours a driver can be behind the wheel and establish daily maximums. Ideally, if truckers and their employers comply with these regulations, truckers will get the rest they need to operate a commercial vehicle safely.
Unfortunately, just because these rules have been set doesn’t mean everyone will follow them. There have been instances of truckers falsifying or manipulating the log books where they record their hours so that they can cover up any HOS regulations. There have also been concerning cases where truckers are actually allowed or encouraged to violate these regulations by their employers.
Federal agencies are tasked with citing non-compliant parties for these types of violations, but too often, the violations are not discovered until after a crash has happened. While the fact that the accident occurred is devastating, victims and their families should understand that there is still something they can do.
Filing a legal claim against a negligent or reckless party that violated trucking regulations can help send a strong message that such behaviors will not be ignored. It can also help those affected by a truck accident get the financial help and sense of closure they deserve.