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Hours of Service and Truck Driver Fatigue


When huge commercial motor vehicles (CMV), such as big rigs, get into accidents, the results are often disastrous. Most people killed in those types of collisions are passenger car vehicles, as the trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Part of the reason these accidents can happen is driver fatigue. While CMV drivers are highly trained and licensed professionals, the trucking industry has a long history of pushing its drivers to the extreme. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued Hours of Service (HOS) to help curb this problem.

HOS regulations apply to truck drivers, commercial and city bus drivers, and school bus drivers who operate CMVs, and they limit the number of hours spent driving daily and weekly. They also regulate the minimum amount of time drivers must spend resting between shifts.

These HOS were implemented to prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue. Before they were imposed, drivers would often spend long hours behind the wheel without proper rest. Some would rely on stimulants to keep awake, but even driving tired is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. HOS prevents fatigue by keeping drivers on a 21- to a 24-hour schedule, which helps keep their natural circadian rhythm from making them sleepy while they’re driving.

Companies that require drivers to be quick about their deliveries might encourage them to ignore the HOS. However, HOS enforcement is handled by DOT officers in each state. If drivers are caught violating the HOS, they can be forced to stop driving for a period, potentially negatively affecting the motor carrier’s safety rating.

If you were injured in a collision with a CMV, driver fatigue could be the reason. Negligence or carelessness causing injuries to other people should be punished. If your accident resulted in catastrophic injuries or serious property damage, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our Wichita truck accident attorneys have more than 30 years of personal injury law experience to offer your case. Let us see if we can get you compensation for your medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.

Contact us at (316) 688-1166or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.