Hours of Service Violations and Truck Accidents
Anyone who has spent time on our nation’s highways knows just how valuable big rigs are to our economy. Semi trucks carry countless dollars worth of goods coast to coast, and we depend upon them for reliable access to the products that make modern life possible.
However, some trucking companies push their drivers too hard, encouraging them to break the federal regulations put in place to protect everyone on the road. And when a tired trucker gets behind the wheel, it puts everyone in danger.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident caused by a driver who violated federal hours of service regulations, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Denver truck accident lawyer Todd Tenge knows the laws regarding complex truck accident cases, and he can help you hold all negligent parties accountable.
You can learn about your rights and options by speaking with Mr. Tenge in person. Please call (303) 665-2929 today to schedule a free truck accident consultation at our Denver office.
Federal Hours of Service Regulations
The United States Department of Transportation establishes rules that apply to all commercial trucks, including any vehicle that:
- Weighs more than 10,00 pounds, including freight
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
- Transports enough hazardous material to require safety placards
A driver whose truck meets the definition is subject to strict regulations with respect to how long he or she can operate the vehicle without a break. The federal trucking rules are complex, but they are most readily summarized as follows:
- 11-hour limit: A trucker may drive at most 11 hours total after having spent 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- 14-hour limit: A trucker may not drive beyond the 14th hour following his or her return to duty after 10 consecutive hours spent off duty.
- Rest breaks: With few exceptions, a trucker may drive only if 8 hours or fewer have elapsed since the end of his or her last off-duty or sleeper berth rest period of 30 minutes or more.
- 60/70-hour limit: A trucker may not drive after having spent 60 or 70 hours on duty in 7 or 8 consecutive days, respectively. A truck driver may restart a 7 or 8 consecutive day period after spending 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
- Sleeper berth provision: A truck driver using the sleeper berth provision must spend at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus an additional 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or some combination of the two.
The Tenge Law Firm, LLC can Help
When a truck driver violates these hours of service regulations, it can easily lead to a catastrophic truck accident. In addition to the driver, the trucking company can potentially be held liable.
Denver attorney Todd Tenge is an expert in these federal rules and stands ready to litigate your case if you’ve been injured in a truck accident caused by a careless truck driver. He will review truck driver logs, toll receipts, gas receipts, and other records to determine whether an hours of service violation has been committed.
Please contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC using the form at the bottom of the page or call (303) 665-2929 today to schedule a free truck accident consultation. Mr. Tenge serves clients in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, Colorado.
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