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How the Hours of Service Regulations Prevent Truck Accidents
Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed in accidents involving large commercial trucks. These devastating incidents can cause life-altering injuries and tremendous emotional trauma for victims and their families. And as personal injury lawyers know all too well, the aftermath of a truck accident in Florida can be overwhelming and complex.
Thankfully, there are measures in place to help prevent these types of accidents from occurring. One such measure is the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, which dictate how long truck drivers can operate their vehicles before taking a break. By ensuring that drivers get enough rest, HOS regulations play a critical role in keeping our roads safe and preventing truck accidents.
Let’s dive into these regulations and what they mean for drivers on Florida’s roads.
What are Hours of Service Regulations?
All Florida truck drivers must comply with the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
These regulations are in place to ensure that commercial drivers take necessary breaks and rest periods to prevent fatigue-related accidents.
These rules include:
- Florida truck drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours after taking a ten-hour consecutive break and cannot drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off-duty
- Truckers must have at least one 30-minute break during their first eight hours of driving time.
- Carriers that do not drive daily cannot drive over 60 hours on duty in a seven-day period.
If a driver ends up violating these rules, they or their employers may face fines or penalties and could even lose their operating authority.
Note: Short-haul drivers may not have to follow these same regulations, so if you are a Florida truck driver, make sure that you know the rules.
How HOS Regulations Prevent Truck Accidents
We know the value of hard work here at Mickey Keenan, P.A. Truckers are among the hardest-working individuals in our society, tasked with delivering goods and products to businesses and consumers alike. However, one of the most significant obstacles for commercial drivers is the pressure they face when it comes to meeting deadlines, which can be overwhelming at times.
This pressure can be especially difficult for truckers who must adhere to strict schedules while also navigating challenging road conditions. It can also lead some drivers to forego rest periods or sleep to meet their deadlines, which can put them and others on the road at risk.
The demands of driving long distances at odd hours of the day or night can take a toll on even the most experienced driver, leading some to struggle with fatigue and exhaustion.
HOS regulations endeavor to prevent fatigue-related incidents caused by long hours on the road since fatigued driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.
Researchers have discovered that driving while heavily fatigued can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is particularly alarming for truckers and commercial drivers who operate heavy vehicles on long hauls. Fatigue affects reaction times, decision-making ability, and concentration. These are all critical when operating a vehicle, especially a large truck or commercial vehicle that may weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
The results of commercial-driver fatigue can be catastrophic; according to data compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), driver fatigue is a contributing factor in over 10% of all fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses.
Read More > What is Drowsy Driving?
What Should I Do If I’m Involved in an Accident with a Semi-Truck?
Accidents involving semi-trucks can be quite traumatic, especially when you consider the size and weight of these vehicles. If you ever find yourself in an accident with a commercial truck, there are certain steps that you should take to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights.
As with any type of accident, check for injuries and call 911, FIRST.
Once everyone is safe and secure, it’s important to start gathering information about the accident.
- Take photos of any damage to your vehicle or injuries sustained by anyone involved.
- Exchange insurance information with the truck driver
- Take note of their license plate number
This will help you when it comes time to file an insurance claim or pursue legal action.
Finally, if you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you get the compensation you deserve for injuries, lost wages, and more.
Your Fight is Our Fight
Being involved in a semi-truck accident is a harrowing experience that can leave you with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial strain. But, you don’t have to face it alone. At Mickey Keenan P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to stand by your side and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
We understand the complexities of these types of cases and will work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected. Don’t wait to contact us if you’ve been injured in a commercial truck accident. We’re here to help and will use our knowledge and resources to get you the justice you deserve.