Before deciding whether it’s safe to travel, professional vehicle operators must adhere to strict rules and regulations. For example, airline pilots, railway operating employees, and cruise captains are all subject to strict duty and rest rules to ensure the safety of all passengers. Likewise, commercial truck drivers operate vehicles that can weigh nearly 80,000 pounds on the same road as millions of other people. Needless to say, following hours of service (HOS) rules and regulations is incredibly important.

A violation of HOS can result in a devastating truck accident in Houston. Victims involved in these traumatic events often suffer catastrophic injuries and emotional disabilities. The more severe in nature the injuries are, the more likely victims will endure greater financial hardship due to costly medical bills and absence from work.

At Sutliff & Stout, our Houston accident lawyers are here to support you, uncover evidence to prove fault, and recover compensation for your losses. Your story matters. Let us combine our voices and get you the justice you deserve.

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Hours of Service Regulations for Truck Drivers Explained

HOS regulations for truck drivers are set by both federal and state governments. Truck companies and drivers who transport cargo across state lines must adhere to the rules of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As specified by the laws:

  • During a 14-hour driving window, truck drivers can drive for a total of 11 hours, and the remaining 3 hours are reserved for breaks, rest, and food. Truck drivers must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours before their next 14-hour period starts.
  • If a truck driver has been driving over eight continuous hours, they must take a 30-minute break.
  • Over a 7-day period, truck drivers cannot be on duty for more than 60 hours. Over an 8-day period, truck drivers cannot be on duty for more than 70 hours. After 34 uninterrupted off-duty hours, the 7- or 8-day period may be resumed.
  • Truck drivers must keep all necessary documentation, including logs and records, to prove abidance by rules.

Truckers that operate in-state are subject to similar conditions, but state rules tend to be less strict. Regardless of whether the truck driver works under federal or state guidelines, a violation of their applicable service hours can turn deadly for those unlucky enough to share the road at the same time as the negligent driver.

Why It’s Important for Truck Drivers to Obey Hours of Service

To combat the dangers of fatigue in truck drivers, state and federal governments established hours of service regulations. Truck driver fatigue has been an overriding issue in the automotive industry, presumably since tracking fatigue has different effects on people. One trucker might drive exceptionally on only a few hours of sleep, whereas another driver may feel drowsy, agitated, and restless. In addition, all truck drivers have different lifestyles outside of their duties that play a role in how they perform their job.

In general, fatigue—whether due to being overworked or a lack of sleep—can lead to errors. And while operating semi-trucks that are nearly 25 times heavier than the average vehicle, there’s no room for errors. Slightly dozing off and crossing over into other lanes can turn into a tragic truck accident, causing consequences for passenger vehicle occupants such as:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Whiplash
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Burns and lacerations
  • Fractures and dislocations
  • Disfigurement

Injured accident victims in Houston are permitted to seek full compensation for their losses from those liable. Proving truck driver HOS rule violations in Houston requires exposing various records that show truck drivers’ and their companies’ failure to obey appropriate HOS operations. These matters are time-sensitive, so don’t wait any longer to reach Sutliff & Stout for help.

Millions Recovered for Truck Accident Victims in Houston

Hours of service violation truck accidents are never acceptable. Trucking regulations are put in place for a reason, and when they are broken, negligent parties must be held liable. Sutliff & Stout can help you make conscious decisions regarding your future while guiding you through each phase of the legal process. We know it won’t be easy, but we are prepared to get your life back on track and stand up against those who have wronged you.

At Sutliff & Stout, our Houston legal team has an extensive track record of successfully representing those injured or killed due to the negligence of others. We work around the clock to get you all you are rightfully owed under the law. If you have a legal matter that you would like to discuss, we encourage you to reach our Board-Certified truck collision lawyers by calling 713-987-7111 or completing our contact form to request a free consultation today.