In many ways, truck drivers are the lifeblood of this country: they keep products moving across the U.S. and are instrumental in our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. However, that importance does not decrease the responsibility truck drivers have to be safe on the road and make sure they never endanger anyone else. Due to its large size, when a commercial truck is involved in any kind of accident, the consequences can be disastrous.
When such an accident occurs, it can be difficult to determine exactly who is to blame, but it is vital to hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured due to truck driver negligence, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free consultation with a top NY truck accident law firm.
Commercial truck drivers in the United States have rules and restrictions they have to follow as part of their jobs. Without these rules, trucking companies would push their drivers to stay behind the wheel much longer than they reasonably can, and more collisions and injuries would occur due to truck driver fatigue.
These hours of service (HOS) regulations are:
- There is an 11-hour driving limit, so truckers can only drive for up to 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
- There is also a 14-hour limit, which means truckers may not drive for more than 14 hours after coming on duty following at least 10 hours off-duty.
- Truck drivers have to take a rest break of at least 30 minutes once every 8 hours, which must be spent off-duty or in a sleeper berth.
- A truck driver cannot drive more than 60/70 hours on duty in any 7/8 consecutive days. The 7/8-day period restarts only after at least 34 consecutive hours spent off-duty.
Whether a badly-loaded commercial truck overturns and spills dangerous chemicals, or a fatigued trucker slams into another vehicle, truck accidents are extremely dangerous.
After any serious accident, there is the question of "Who’s to blame?" Truck driver negligence means the trucker himself acted in a way that a reasonable person would not have in the same situation. For example, if the trucker chose to violate HOS laws and stay behind the wheel for 18 hours, that would be negligence. In some cases, this violation might have been due to pressure from the trucking company, which could open both the driver and the company up to civil action.
Some drivers’ actions are solely their fault. For example, taking a sharp turn too fast, or tailgating other cars, would be examples of truck driver negligence and not make the company liable to the victims. On the other hand, something that might seem like negligent behavior by the driver could be due to company policies that create an unsafe environment, making the company liable as well.
Sorting through all the details of truck driver negligence after a serious accident can be difficult. That is why you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to represent you and fight to make sure you are compensated for your injuries. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 right now to discuss what happened and talk about your options.