Hours of Service Rules
Truck driver fatigue is an important cause of commercial truck accidents. A truck driver who is fatigued will have more difficulty processing complex and changing information about the road ahead, suffer from poor judgment, and react more slowly. Truck drivers in Illinois are expected to follow hours of service rules, and a failure to do so is negligent. If a fatigued truck driver injured you, you should consult the Chicago truck accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.Violations of Hours of Service Rules Can Cause Serious Injuries
Fatigued truckers can make poor decisions. The National Truck Safety Board has estimated that their fatigue is a factor in up to 40% of all truck accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck driver fatigue causes 750 trucking accident deaths and over 20,000 injuries each year.
Interstate truck drivers are required to abide by hours of service regulations. These are rules that were enacted to combat truck driver fatigue and the risks that it creates for everyone else with whom the truck driver shares the road. Truck drivers can drive for at most 10 hours after eight consecutive off-duty hours. After eight consecutive hours off duty, truck drivers cannot drive after being on duty for 15 hours. After driving 60 hours in seven days or driving 70 hours in eight days, truck drivers are not allowed to drive. Drivers who use a sleeper berth are supposed to take a minimum of eight hours in the berth and can split this period into two periods, as long as neither of the periods is less than two hours.
If you are injured in an accident caused by a truck driver's fatigue, you may be able to hold the truck driver responsible. Your lawyer will most likely need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the truck driver's duty toward you, a breach of duty, causation, and actual damages. A truck driver who violates the hours of service rules and is fatigued and slow to react as a result will likely be found negligent by a jury.
Truck drivers are supposed to accurately log their hours of service in a logbook. The logbook is an important piece of evidence in a truck accident case. However, some truck drivers falsify their logbooks. Trucking companies are supposed to provide supervision of a truck driver. This supervision includes a duty to inspect the truck driver's logbooks and ensure that they are accurate. Unfortunately, some trucking companies not only do not inspect the logbooks but also encourage falsification of logbooks to increase the likelihood that truck drivers will meet tight deadlines, and profits will be improved.
A trucking company can be held vicariously liable for a truck driver's negligence in the course and scope of employment. In addition, it can be held liable for its own negligence in hiring, training, or supervising a truck driver. A trucking company that fails to use reasonable care in supervising a truck driver may be held responsible for a truck accident that results from this failure.
Damages that you may be able to recover include economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses consist of tangible losses, such as out-of-pocket costs, medical expenses, wages, and replacement services. Noneconomic losses may include mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium.Discuss Your Truck Accident Claim with a Chicago Attorney
Sometimes trucking companies and their insurers take steps to avoid paying compensation to victims of their negligence, even when liability is clear. This is why it is so critical to retain an attorney who has prior experience pursuing damages for truck accident victims. If you were injured in a truck accident that you suspect was caused by a truck driver who violated the hours of service rules, you should consult a tough Chicago attorney who understands how to gather evidence after a truck accident. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our experienced truck accident lawyers represent accident victims in Aurora, Springfield, Quincy, Rockford, and Champaign, as well as other areas of Cook, Kane, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.