Auto accidents happen in a split second. All it takes is one drowsy blink, one change of the radio, one look at the view, or one text to send, and lives could be changed forever. And that’s just car accidents. Accidents with trucks are different – because they are big! A fully loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That’s more than 20 times the weight of a normal car. Truck accidents result in big injuries, big financial issues, and big life disruptions.
After a truck accident, you might be scratching your head wondering, “how did it happen?” What you need now is someone in your corner to help you through the next steps. If you’ve been in an accident with a truck in the Chicago area, give the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC a call. We are here to help you navigate the legal intricacies of an accident with a commercial truck and to get you back on your financial feet in no time.
Laws and Regulations that Govern Truck Drivers
Many of the specific regulations that truck drivers must follow have to do with their Hours of Service (HOS). HOS regulations dictate how long a truck driver may operate their vehicle and be considered safe. Hours of Service are created, regulated, and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Why does the FMCSA care so much about the HOS of truck drivers? Simply put, a drowsy truck driver can end a life. Sleepy drivers have slow reaction times and therefore are not able to make the split-second, life-saving decisions that could be necessary on the highway.
- 11 Hour Driving Limit — After resting for ten consecutive hours, truck drivers can drive for a maximum of 11 hours.
- 14 Hour Limit — After said ten hours of rest, drivers may not drive beyond 14 consecutive hours.
- 30-Minute Break — After driving for eight hours consecutively, drivers are required to take a 30-minute break. This break can be satisfied by being ‘off duty,’ being a passenger, sleeping, or a combination of these.
- 60/70 Hour Limit — If driving seven or eight consecutive days, truck drivers’ HOS cannot exceed 60 or 70 hours.
- Adverse Driving Conditions — When adverse driving conditions are expected, truck drivers are allowed to operate longer to account for slower progress on the road.
What’s a Travel Log?
In years past, truck drivers logged their HOS on paper sheets. These logs included the date and time of departure, the time driven, the locations of all stops, and the mileage of the vehicle. Drivers would regularly mail these to their employer, who would keep them on file for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to reference.
These days, almost every commercial truck is required to be outfitted with an ELD, or Electronic Logging Device. ELDs are how truck drivers, their companies, and the DOT keep track of compliance with HOS laws and regulations. ELD’s are synchronized with the truck’s engine and record the time, date, and location of all stops, as well as the engine’s run time. ELDs will even warn drivers that their HOS are about to end — or that they must take a break.
Electronic Logging Devices contain valuable information about what happened in the moments before, during, and after a crash. If a truck driver was in violation of their HOS and then caused an accident, the ELD can help prove that they are liable.
The problem is this. If a trucking company suspects their driver is at fault for an accident, they won’t want to hand over ELD records. This is where the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC can help.
Our experienced attorneys are here to go to bat for you against multi-million dollar trucking companies. We can help you find, collect, and present proof that a reckless truck driver caused your pain and suffering.
Call Us Today
Before you sat behind the wheel of a car for the first time, you knew to follow the posted speed limit, come to a full stop at all stop signs, use your blinker, and never drive tired. To avoid accidents, truck drivers have to follow the same rules and more. But, sometimes, truck drivers break the law and cause lasting pain for innocent people.
If you have been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, contact Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC at 312-346-8620 to speak with a truck accident attorney today. We can help guide you through the legal process and work on getting the compensation you need to cover your accident-related losses.