How HOS violations can lead to truck accidents

Trucking accidents can be among the most damaging and gruesome types of motor vehicle accidents, as commercial vehicles weigh over 10,000 pounds and can be difficult to operate. Because of this, truckers are required to have a commercial driver's license and comply with strict trucking regulations in order to avoid devastating accidents.

However, truckers are just like any other motorist: They make mistakes and break the law. The difference is that their mistakes are more likely to have catastrophic consequences. For example, if a trucker violates Hours of Service regulations, they could be at risk of getting fatigued and causing a serious accident.

HOS regulations were put into place to prevent truckers from driving too many hours. In the trucking industry, there is significant motivation to meet deadlines and get cargo delivered. Some drivers go to extremes to achieve this, which often means deciding not to take breaks or pull over and stop when they get tired.

In order to prevent fatigued driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published rules that limit the number of hours truckers are allowed to drive and work. These regulations require drivers to take 30-minute breaks, observe mandatory rest hours and limit driving hours to 11 per day.

Unfortunately, just because the rules exist does not mean that truckers will obey them. In fact, there are some drivers who will falsify their driving log records in an attempt to cover up violations and continue working past the allowable hours. 

If a fatigued trucker fails to respond to changing road conditions or falls asleep at the wheel, he or she could ultimately cause a serious accident and injure or kill other motorists.

In the event of a trucking accident, it can be crucial to determine if fatigue and/or trucking violations were to blame. Victims and their families in Pennsylvania can work with an attorney who understands how to secure logbooks and other records to support allegations of negligence, which are essential when filing a claim for compensation.

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