Truck drivers transport goods across the country which may require long and monotonous hours on the road. Truck driver fatigue, drowsiness and inattentiveness can be serious concerns on the roadway. Truck driver fatigue can be especially hazardous because of the size of commercial trucks compared to the vehicles they share the roadways with. To help improve safety, the United State Department of Transportation regulates truck drivers and the number of hours they can be behind the wheel without a break.
In addition to limiting the number of hours a truck driver can be behind the wheel without a break, drivers are also required to keep a log book that tracks their hours. Truck drivers must have 10 consecutive hours off in between shifts of driving. Off time is considered time off duty and not just time that is spent not driving. Specific rules apply to how many hours a truck driver can be on-duty in set period of hours and on a weekly basis and the rules can be sometimes complex. Drivers are required to note off-time in their log books.
Truck drivers who fail to properly maintain their trucking log may face different penalties and consequences. If a fatigued truck driver has caused a truck accident, it may be considered negligence and a log book, or a log book that was not properly kept, may be used as evidence of the truck driver's negligence. Trucking companies, based on the circumstances and their relationship to the driver, may also be negligent as well. Truck drivers and trucking companies that negligently cause an accident may be liable to victims for damages.
Victims of truck accidents may be able to bring a personal injury claim for damages and hold negligent parties accountable for their carelessness. Victims may be able to recover compensation for the physical, financial and emotional damages they have suffered in a truck accident which is why it is important for them to be familiar with legal options and protections available to them.
Source: Chron.com, "Log Book Rules for Truck Drivers," Cynthia Myers, Accessed Aug. 29, 2017