You probably come across dozens of truck drivers every day, but it only takes one to change your life forever. That’s why federal regulations are put in place to protect drivers on the road, and operating outside those rules can make for deadly conditions.
Studies have shown that drivers that break hours-of-service rules run an increased risk of causing an accident. One big contributor to crashes is driver fatigue, which is why one of the most heavily regulated parts of trucking is hours of operations. Breaking these rules can be a sure way to cause an accident, but it can also be one of the hardest to prove later.
Staying in the lines
Fatigue can have a disastrous effect on operators. A person that has been awake for 17 hours has comparable performance to someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. That same driver could lose their license for blowing less than that on a breathalyzer. For this reason, operators can only work so many hours in a row before they have to stop. They must follow their stop by a period of down-time, where they have to rest before getting back behind the wheel.
Fatigued drivers may be easy to spot, but it can be a hard thing to prove:
- Check the book: Drivers must keep a log of all their hours, and recent legislation requires a change to automatic data collection. Trucks typically need to have a device that monitors how far they drive, how long their engine is on and what speeds they’re traveling. This can be an easy way to tell if they’re operating outside legal bounds.
- Tracking goods: The trucking industry thrives on efficiency, and that can mean keeping tabs on all their merchandise. If they’re tracking how far and how fast loads are making it to their destination, you could also use this to find out the pace of the driver who got it there.
- Paying the toll: Even with technology leading the evidence pool, there are still old-fashioned ways to find out where a truck has been. Drivers traveling across the country are bound to use tolls to shave time off their trip, and you might be able to piece together a history through records and receipts that show their activity.
Pinpointing fatigue can be difficult unless you know where to look. Knowing the rules, and being able to spot when they’ve been broke, can make all the difference when looking for compensation.