Many of us have been in the situation where we’ve been behind the wheel after a long day and start to feel driver fatigue setting in. While this situation can be dangerous no matter what vehicle you’re driving, most of us are not driving a semi-truck when it happens. Semi-trucks can weigh well in excess of 50,000 pounds, and when an operator is inattentive, or even worse, falls asleep and they are involved in an accident, the damage is often catastrophic.
That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the Department of Transportation, regulates Hours of Services for long distance and day-to-day semi-truck drivers.
What is Hours of Service?
Hours of Service applies to vehicles used for interstate travel that are a certain weight and/or passenger capacity. Drivers are required to rest a certain number of hours while on a long distance interstate trip and are required to log these hours.
Failure to do so is a violation of federal regulations.
What happens when we have a lack of sleep?
The regulations are designed to protect everyone on the road. Lack of sleep severely impacts the ability to make decisions and safely operate a motor vehicle. Whether you’re driving a car or a semi-truck, it’s important for everyone’s safety that you’re getting enough sleep.
- Being awake for 18 hours causes impairment similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol level of .05. While not past the legal limit, we’d argue you should still not be behind the wheel.
- Staying awake for 24 hours causes impairment similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol level of .08, the legal limit.
Semi-truck drivers typically try to make their drop-off destination in the fastest number of hours, occasionally going without the proper amount of sleep. Their activities are recorded (or should be).
The challenge sometimes is getting to these records and logs after a semi-truck accident before they are lost or destroyed. Securing this crucial data as quickly as possible is but one reason why it is important to call The Silkman Law Firm if you or a loved one has been involved in a semi-truck accident.
Does Hours of Service really make a difference?
Yes, since Hours of Service was implemented in 2013, the FMCSA reports fewer fatal crashes , fewer drivers working maximum schedules which decreases the risk for driver fatigue, and no increase in crashes 5am – 9am, the morning rush hour.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a semi-truck accident, you need Silkman Law Firm, a firm that is familiar with the critical details of both federal and state laws concerning semi-truck accidents.