It is no secret that accidents involving trucks are some of the most devastating, particularly due to their size and weight. Accidents are even more likely to occur in cases where the truck driver is not well-rested. Unfortunately, despite the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) strict hours of service regulations, which were designed to prevent truck driver fatigue, many violate these rules and put the lives of others at great risk.
The Hours of Service Regulations
According to FMCSA regulations, commercial truck drivers cannot drive for more than 11 hours at a time after they have had 10 consecutive off-duty hours, and are prohibited from driving beyond the 14th hour after going on duty. Additionally, truck drivers cannot drive for more than 60 hours over a span of 7 consecutive days.
Truck drivers are also required to have at least 34 consecutive hours of off-duty time before they are allowed to begin a new 7 or 8-day period of work. During the first 8 hours of a shift, they must take a 30-minute break.
As you can see, there are many regulations that are in place to keep truck drivers from getting behind the wheel when they have not had enough rest. However, many trucking companies do not strictly enforce these rules and, in some cases, even encourage employees to break them.
Penalties for Violating the Hours of Service Rules
Both carriers and truck drivers can face steep penalties for violating the hours of service rules. Some of the penalties include:
- The driver might be removed from service until enough off-duty time has accumulated
- Both local and state law enforcement officials could charge the truck driver a fine
- The FMCSA could also charge a civil penalty against the driver or carrier, ranging from $1,000 to $11,000 per violation, depending on the severity of it
- The carrier’s safety rating might be downgraded if there appears to be a pattern of violations taking place
- The carrier could potentially face criminal penalties if they or their drivers are knowingly and willingly violating the hours of service regulations
Truck accidents frequently cause catastrophic injuries that can change a victim’s life forever. If you were injured in a truck accident, it is critical that you seek the legal assistance of an attorney with extensive experience and knowledge in handling such cases.
Hours of Service Violations in New Jersey
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, our skilled and experienced legal team in New Jersey is dedicated to representing truck injury victims. Our firm has successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients and an award-winning reputation. To obtain the compensation you need and deserve during this difficult time, reach out to our firm as soon as possible.
Get started on your case today and call Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law at (201) 870-1909 to schedule your 100% risk-free initial consultation.