Fatigued Semi Drivers and Semi Truck Accidents in Florida

semi truck accidents in floridaThere are rules that govern the length of time that trucks can be on the road. These rules are called the Hours of Service (HOS) rules and they were established in 1939; the goal was to protect regular motorists from fatigued semi truck drivers who are more prone to accidents. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study by the US Department of Transportation, 15 percent of commercial vehicle drivers were deemed to have been fatigued at the time of their accident. As a driver in Florida, you are vulnerable to the many 80,000-pound vehicles that drive through the state on a daily basis. Any one of those drivers could be operating their vehicle on too little sleep. Fatal semi truck accidents in Florida occurred at a rate of over eight per day on the state’s roads in 2009, and in that year there were close to 200 fatalities resulting from accidents involving large trucks. The fact is that many of the semi truck accidents in Florida could have been prevented by observing the law.

Newer HOS Regulations

Under revisions to the original 1939 law, truck drivers are allowed to drive for no more than 11 hours during a standard 14-hour work day. If they have been on the road for the maximum amount of time allowed by the law, they must take a rest break of 10 hours. Drivers are limited to 60-77 hours on the road over a period of seven days and 70-88 hours over eight days. Drivers are allowed to start a week with no hours only if they have not been on the road for a continuous two and a half day stretch. Unfortunately, there are many drivers and trucking companies who sometimes fail to follow these rules. Drivers may have to operate on very tight schedules or they may have financial incentives to drive more than they should on too little sleep. The results of this can be seen in the high number of semi truck accidents in Florida and across the nation.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Resulting from Semi Truck Accidents in Florida

If you have been injured in an accident due to the fact that a truck driver violated federal law and was fatigued at the wheel, you may be able to seek damages in court. You may prove that the driver or the trucking company (or both) violated the federal law regarding hours on the road. Breaking this law can be proof of the driver’s negligence, but what about the trucking company? A trucking company can be found negligent if you can prove that they scheduled the truck to be on the road in violation of the law without due attention to the possibility of fatigue.Important Considerations in Lawsuits Resulting from Semi Truck Accidents in Florida

  • The Log Book- Truck drivers are required to maintain a logbook that details their hours on the road. The logbook may provide proof that the truck driver violated the law and stayed on the road beyond the limitations set down by the federal government
  • Bills of Lading- These can help to pinpoint the truck’s location at certain points in the day as loads are being taken on or dropped off, bills of lading may help to show the amount of time spent on the road.
  • Mobile Phone Records- These may help to pinpoint a driver’s location at the time of a call, and the location of the tower used to make the call.

Driving any kind of vehicle comes with a significant amount of responsibility, but driving a tractor-trailer over thousands of miles comes with even more. The weight difference between a semi truck and a passenger vehicle alone heightens the risk of the smaller vehicle and serious injuries to those within it. Trucking companies and their drivers who could be knowingly disobeying the law should be held responsible for their negligence; Attorney Group for Florida can help. If you have any questions regarding a semi truck accident, want to know your legal rights, or you are interested in pursuing a claim, contact Attorney Group for Florida today.