The correlation between fatigued driving and higher car accident rates has been well documented. Because collisions involving tractor trailers cause more property damage and injuries than those involving passenger vehicles, the federal government has taken steps to reduce truck accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates the trucking industry in the U.S., has established rules governing how often and for how long truck drivers can operate their vehicles before taking mandatory rest periods. These rules apply to truckers on I-15, I-215, Highway 95, Clark County roads, or Las Vegas-area sidestreets. These regulations are designed to prevent driver fatigue, which is a leading cause of Las Vegas trucking accidents.
Here are some of these rules:
- Each day, a driver must cease operation of his or her truck for at least 10 consecutive hours.
- Drivers are only allowed to operate their trucks for 11 total hours in a given day.
- Drivers cannot log more than 60 hours of operation in any consecutive 7-day period (unless they rest for at least 34 consecutive hours during that time period).
Unfortunately, some truck drivers and trucking companies choose to disobey those federal “hours of service” rules. Since truck drivers are often paid by the mile, they may be tempted to drive longer than they are allowed to. And since companies are motivated by schedules and deadlines, they may pressure their drivers to reach their destinations no matter how many driving hours it takes to get there.
If a truck accident occurs and it is discovered that these hours of service regulations were breached, the trucking company is guilty of negligence. This is also the case if the driving logs (which record how long a driver operates his or her vehicle each day) are revealed to be falsified. If trucking negligence exists, the company and/or the driver would likely be found liable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.