If the trucker who hit you was tired, he may have violated federal hours of service regulations. Here, learn the documents that you will need to prove this.

How to Prove Violations of Hours of Service Rules Caused Your Truck Accident

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Because truck driver fatigue can lead to catastrophic truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented hours of service regulations setting the number of hours a trucker can driver without taking a break. Unfortunately, truckers often violate these rules due to the pressures by the trucking company to quickly deliver a load and return to pick up a new one. If you were injured in a truck accident caused by a drowsy trucker, the hours of service rules may have been violated. However, you need the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney to prove this.

How to Prove Hours of Service Violations in Your Truck Crash Claim

Truck drivers must follow many complicated rules regarding how long they can drive. For example, they can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off duty. They must also only drive eight hours or less before taking a 30 minute or more off-duty or sleeper berth break. To ensure that they follow the rules, they are required to keep track of their work and rest hours in a log book.

Unfortunately the trucking company and trucker can falsify or alter the log to make it look like they were following the rules. Here are documents that can help show that what the log book says is not true:

  • Driver log. Obtaining the trucker’s log book is important to see how long the trucker claimed he was driving and resting. This document should be compared to other records to determine if it is accurate.
  • On-board recording device. If the truck involved in your crash was equipped with an on-board recording device, it should also record the hours that the truck driving was on and off duty. The data from the device should be compared to the paper log book.
  • Cellphone and email records. By obtaining cellphone records, including text messages and emails between the trucking company and trucker, you may find revealing information about what the truck driver was really doing and whether the trucking company was instructing him to drive longer than the hours of service rules allowed. Because these communications were made before your crash, no one expected them to be read, making them potentially more incriminating.
  • Receipts. Gas, toll, and restaurant receipts can be used to show a true picture of when a trucker took a break and his location during various times during his trip.
  • GPS. Many trucks are equipped with a GPS that records the truck’s location, speed, and more at various intervals during the day. This can also be compared to the paper log book.
  • Shipping bills of lading. The shipment being transported will come with a bill of lading, which is often stamped with the pick-up and delivery dates and times. These documents should be cross-checked to the log book records.

You will need the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney to obtain this important information and review it for you. He can send the trucking company a spoliation letter advising them of your claim and instructing them not to destroy evidence, such as these documents, that can help you prove your case. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss how we can assist you in proving the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence in causing your accident.

Category: Truck and Bus Accidents


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