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Hours of service and truck accidents

Most truckers in Louisiana are on a tight deadline, and the motto "time is money" certainly holds true to those who are paid by the mile. While from a business aspect this helps ensure efficiency and contract adherence, from a public safety standpoint, such motivations can prove dangerous. Many truckers push themselves to the limit, driving themselves into fatigue that drastically affects their ability to safely operate their truck. When this happens, innocent drivers are put in harm's way.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has attempted to curtail drowsy driving by placing limits on truckers' hours. For example, the regulations state that a trucker can only drive up to 11 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off. Also, a trucker can't drive beyond the 14th hour after coming back into service after a 10-hour break. Truckers are also disallowed from operating their vehicles for more than 60 hours in a seven day period or 70 hours in an eight day period.

These hours-of-service rules certainly help further safety efforts, but they don't fully prevent fatigued truckers from taking to the roads. Those involved in a truck accident can be left with serious injuries that can be painful and expensive to treat. The medical expenses and lost wages unfairly thrust upon them can leave them in a dire financial situation. These victims should carefully consider their legal options, including whether or not it is possible to pursue compensation for their damages.

How would they seek out such compensation? They would need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent trucker and, perhaps, the trucking company for which he or she works. Obtaining trucking logs may be key if the accident is alleged to have been caused by failing to adhere to the regulations discussed above, so those victims should be sure to discuss that with their attorney.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Summary of Hours of Service," accessed on Sept. 12 2016

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Tauzin & Lorio, Attorneys at Law
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