New Mexico Trucking Accidents Caused by an Hours of Service Violation: Albuquerque 18 Wheeler Wreck Lawyer Explains How to Prove These Cases
It is axiomatic that the trucking business is an interstate business. Meaning that is works through many, if not all, of the states in the US. Because of this, the federal government has an agency which drafts regulations application to all commercial truck drivers and trucking companies, no matter what state they are traveling in. This is in addition to the state laws which are also applicable as each truck driver and trucking company goes through the individual state. But the federal regulations are the minimum requirements.
And there’s not much “minimum” about them. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency, and the regulations are quite extensive. The regulations span from tires to the amount of payment, to training and hiring, or the exact number of hours that a truck driver may operate a commercial vehicle. This amount of time that a truck driver can drive in a given amount of time during the day and, more broadly, during the week.
Generally, hours of service regulations are in FMCSA regulations Part 395. There are very specific rules that pertain to trucking companies and truck drivers in Part 395. But the basic requirements are the following on truck drivers:
- 14 hour limit from start to end of shift to operate a commercial vehicle;
- Mandatory 10 hour time period off from shift;
- During the 14 hour shift, maximum 11 hours may be spent driving the truck;
- During the 11 hours of driving, the maximum amount of time in a row is 8 hours before a 30 minute rest is required;
- 60 hour maximum number of shift hours in any 7-consecutive day span; and
- 70 hour maximum number of shift hours during any 8-consecutive day span.
The purpose of the hours of service regulations is to keep tired, fatigued, and overworked drivers off the roads. Thus, the purpose is to reduce New Mexico 18 wheeler wrecks. Even if a driver is feeling awake and alert, this does not mean that his or her mind is fatigued froth act of driving. Driving a large big rig takes a huge toll on a person, and doing so for more than 8 hours in a row can be exhausting-especially 60 hours in a week. Think about it; most desk-jobbers are extremely fatigued after 60 hours and they are sitting during that time, not physically manipulating and being constantly aware of every little detail on the roadway.
Hours of Service Violation Regulations
When a truck driver violates the hours of service regulations, it can result in very serious personal injuries to a driver. This is because a fatigued driver or a driver that falls asleep at the wheel and turn a large commercial truck into an unguided missile. Debilitating and fatal injuries are common in New Mexico trucking accidents, particularly on interstates like I-40, I-25, and I-10.
An experienced Albuquerque 18 wheeler wreck lawyer can help you recover compensation for damages caused by an hours of service violation that results in serious, personal injuries. To prove an hours of service violation, here are some steps and methods to win your case:
- Use ECM data – this is the data onboard that the truck stores. This includes the runtime and measures how long the truck has been operating. You can use this to track whether the maximum restrictions have been violated.
- Driver’s logs – truck drivers are required to keep logs of the number of hours worked and the number of hours off. These logs used to be entirely on paper, but they are now usually in electronic form. This allows police to check them to ensure compliance, but also allows victims of personal injuries to use this information to establish liability.
- Dockets and schedules – Even just using the basic schedules that a truck driver has, one can determine whether or not he or she is being truthful. For instance, if a truck driver avers that he or she has started at Point A, drove 8 hours, and ended at Point B, if that distance is obviously more than 8 hours of driving time while the speed limit is being complied with, it is likely there has been a violation of the hours of service.
Victims of Hours of Service Violations Who Are Injured in New Mexico Trucking Accidents May be Entitled to Compensation
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or wrongfully killed in a New Mexico trucking accident which may have been caused by an hours of service, please call our experienced Albuquerque 18 wheeler wreck lawyer to learn how we can help you recover compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and other damages. Call us at the NM Truck Accident Attorneys to learn what your rights to compensation may be by dialing (505) 883-5000. You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.