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What are hours of service as related to truck accidents?


If you get anxious when driving near semi-trucks, then you are in good company. Many Illinois motorists find themselves speeding up to pass big rigs and slowing down to avoid being boxed in by them. These defensive driving techniques have their advantages, but even the safest driver may be unable to protect himself from a negligent trucker. One of the most common ways that truckers are negligent is overworking themselves and thus driving while fatigued.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued regulations in an attempt to curtail sleep and fatigued trucking. Under these regulations, known as hours of service regulations, a trucker can only operate his truck for 11 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off. Additionally, a trucker cannot operate his truck after the 14th hour after he takes his 10 consecutive-hour break. There are also limits on the number of hours per week a trucker can drive. Under the regulations, a trucker can only drive for 60 hours in a seven day week, or 70 hours in an eight day period.

These hours of service are tracked by trucking logs. When an individual is injured in a truck accident, gaining access to a trucking log can be crucial to proving the cause of the accident. This often requires legal know-how, as many truckers and truck companies will try to block access.

Because of the aggressive push back from negligent truckers and the companies for which they work, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit can be challenging. However, by surrounding oneself with an experienced team of legal professionals, a truck accident victim may give himself a better chance of succeeding on his claim and recovering the compensation he needs to recoup medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

Source: FMCSA, "Summary of Hours of Service Regulations," accessed on Oct. 22, 2016

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