Truck drivers in North Carolina have demanding jobs. This is why hours-of-service regulations require that they rest after working 14 hours. Mandatory breaks could counteract fatigue, which causes many accidents every year. Records at the U.S. Department of Transportation show that close to 33,000 citations were written in 2017 against truckers who exceeded the legal limit of work hours.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 157 fatal accidents involving large trucks in 2016 resulted from truck drivers who were tired, sick or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The agency attributed 70 of the deaths to truck drivers who were drowsy or completely asleep at the wheel.
Annual inspection events, like the road check program sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, focus heavily on drivers’ hours of service as well as the mechanical worthiness of trucks. These inspections judge drivers and vehicles against a 37-step compliance list. During the 2017 inspection spree, hours-of-service violations represented the top reason that inspectors sidelined drivers.
Alert drivers are vital for traffic safety. An attorney familiar with commercial truck accidents could evaluate and identify violations of regulations, which could support a personal injury lawsuit. With the representation of an attorney, a victim might overcome challenges to collecting compensation, like an uncooperative insurance company or difficulty obtaining evidence from a police report. An attorney could track down information about the driver’s mistakes and the victim’s medical bills to justify an insurance claim. If the responsible party refuses to offer an adequate settlement, the lawyer could pursue damages at a trial.