In 1939, the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) first instituted hours of service requirements that limited the number of hours a driver could operate a semi truck before being required to rest. Under current hours of service requirements, semi drivers may drive up to 11 hours and are limited to 14 hours in a duty period. The 14-hour duty period may not be extended with off-duty time for meal and fuel stops, etc. Use of a sleeper berth, however, can extend the 14-hour on-duty period.Each duty period must begin with at least 10 hours off-duty. A driver may have 60 hours on-duty in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours on-duty in 8 consecutive days. A driver may, however, “restart” the 7/8-day period by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.Semi truck accidents in Tennessee can occur because a driver is fatigued or falls asleep at the wheel as a result of violating the hours of service requirements. Truck drivers sometimes break these rules is to earn more money or because of very tight delivery schedules. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety, Office of Research, Statistics, and Analysis, falling asleep behind the wheel, a common result of truck driver fatigue, contributed to over 20,000 semi truck accidents in Tennessee from 1996 to 2008.Semi truck accidents in Tennessee not only pose a grave threat to the public but also to emergency personnel such as law enforcement. On March 13, 2012, a Tennessee Highway Patrolman was legally parked on the shoulder of I-40 in Knoxville completing paperwork from a traffic stop when his patrol car was struck by an 18-wheeler. The driver admitted to investigators that he was fatigued and had “fallen asleep” after attempts to stay awake by dousing his face with water. The patrolman was badly injured in the fiery crash but fortunately survived, which is oftentimes not the case. Approximately 98 percent of semi truck accidents in Tennessee and throughout the nation result in at least one death.
What If You Are Involved in a Semi Truck Accident in Tennessee?
What are your legal options if you are injured or if a loved one is killed in a semi truck accident in Tennessee? Drivers and the companies they work for can be held legally responsible for negligence resulting in accidents due to violation of hours of service requirements. Of utmost importance in proving that a driver violated his or her hours of service requirements is the driver’s “log book” which every semi driver must maintain to show when he or she was on-duty and off-duty.Do not feel like you are alone after hit by a semi truck; you have options and contacting Attorney Group for Tennessee will take the guesswork out of finding an attorney that will help you seek compensation. Contact attorneys affiliated with the Attorney Group for Tennessee if you have been injured or if a loved one has been killed in a semi truck accident in Tennessee. We will work to protect your rights and help you pursue compensation.