When it comes to truck drivers, the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations are specifically designed to keep both the drivers and the people who drive around them safe. This is because the DOT understands that truck drivers have to handle a vehicle that can weigh as much as 40 tons, and if they get into an accident, chances of the accident being fatal are extremely high. As a result, both truckers and companies that employ truckers are subject to very strict guidelines. More often than not, negligent companies look to their bottom line and will attempt to skirt the regulations or do the bare minimum in order to meet the guidelines. This puts anybody who is on the road with these truckers at risk. Here are two ways that negligent companies do not follow the federal regulations when it comes to truck driver safety.
Federal Hours of Service Regulations
Recently, federal regulations are targeting the hours of service that truck drivers and long distance bus drivers are able to work. According to federal regulations, a driver may only drive for a total of 11 hours. When the driver has driven 11 hours, they are required to have 10 consecutive off-duty hours. In addition to this, the regulations specify that a driver may not spend more than 14 consecutive hours on duty. This includes time spent doing non-driving tasks.
The challenge for companies is that this takes away their ability to use the drivers for extended periods of time. Very often, negligent companies will look the other way and allow their drivers to drive for significantly more than the 11-hour limit. Other ways companies are negligent include making the driver who is not driving do other job-specific tasks. This can include things like paperwork or routine maintenance on the vehicle. The Federal Department of Transportation regulations are very clear: a driver has to be completely off duty for a minimum of 10 hours before being able to do additional tasks or drive for another 11 hours. By being negligent, these companies are not only breaking the law but also putting the public at risk.
Rest and Restart Times
A driver who has not rested for a minimum of 30 minutes within an eight-hour period is required under federal regulations to pull over and get a rest, which must be at least 30 minutes in length. In addition, the regulations limit a driver’s work week to 70 hours. If the driver maximizes their allowed weekly hours, they must take what is known as a restart break and rest for a minimum of 34 hours before they can begin another 70-hour work week. This is an area where negligent companies find a great deal of wiggle room. By pushing their drivers to complete deliveries in a shorter amount of time, thereby increasing their profitability, these companies can put other drivers and even their own truck drivers at risk by failing to follow the mandated federal regulations.
Call if You Have Been Injured
If you were in a wreck with a big truck, the driver or company they work for could be negligent. Call Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. to discuss your options and how we can work to protect your rights. You can reach us at (609) 240-0040.