At Simon Law Group, our experienced and compassionate lawyers have helped people who have suffered the tragic consequences of big-rig trucking accidents on the Phoenix roadways for over 30 years. Here is what you need to know about what laws are in place and they how they affect both truck drivers and civilians:
Hours-of-Service (HOS) Rule – Regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
The HOS outlines the rules that limit the maximum average workweek for truck drivers and how many hours truck drivers can drive per week.
Who Must Comply?
According to the FMCSA website, most drivers must follow the HOS Regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle, or CMV.
In general, a CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce (such as semi-truck, bus, etc.) and fits any of these descriptions:
- Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
- Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
- Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
- Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
New provisions that took effect in July 2013:
- Limits the maximum average work-week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the previous maximum of 82 hours;
- Allows truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most: from 1-5 a.m.;
- Requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift and;
- Establishes an 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour workday limit.
What is unsafe about the trucking culture & why are people trying to restrict truck drivers’ hours?
- More trucks on the road than ever before: around 70 percent of American goods are transported by truck, which has added flame to the controversy that big corporations are more focused on profit versus safety.
- Independent drivers are paid by the mile and therefore have big incentives to drive as much as possible.
- Drowsy driving is a leading cause of crashes and highway fatalities, according to federal officials.
- Over the past two decades, the number of truck accidents has increased by 20%
- In tractor trailer accidents, 98% of fatalities occur to the individuals in the passenger vehicles
Although there are many who feel that long driving hours for truckers is a root cause in rising dangers on the road, several others – even those in the trucking industry – feel otherwise.
“Many of the anti-truck groups have mischaracterized the extent to which fatigue is a part of our traffic problem,” said Bill Graves, the president of the American Trucking Association and a former governor of Kansas. “I don’t know how the federal government policy makers sleep.”
However you view this issue, the fact remains that an accident involving a Big Rig Tractor-Trailer truck may create liability for not just the driver of the truck, but also the employer of the driver, the owner of the tractor, the owner of the trailer, the owner of the container being transported, as well as the owner of the load in the container – with both unexpected and uncontrollable factors creating dangerous, and often fatal situations.
If you or someone you know is looking for an Arizona truck accident lawyer, the Simon Law Group is here for you. With over 30 years of personal injury experience including over 200 trials of all types, we are here to help you through this difficult time. Remember, experience matters!