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How are commercial vehicle drivers held accountable for fatigued driving? P.2

Previously, we began looking at the topic of the Hours of Service rules, which govern the amount of time commercial vehicle drivers may spend behind the wheel and how frequently they must take rest breaks. Compliance with the Hours of Service rules is obligatory, and penalties may be imposed for violations. Drivers and companies that engage in serious violations can face significant penalties, including fines, for each offense.

Obviously, compliance with the Hours of Service Rules is not a given, and accidents do occur as a direct result of drivers failing to take required rest and break time before getting behind the wheel. Companies may overlook such violations in order to increase their bottom line, at the expense of the rest of us. Those who are harmed as a result of these violations have the right to receive fair compensation for their injuries. 

In any commercial vehicle accident case, there are a variety of potential ways to demonstrate negligence, depending on the facts. Negligence can often be demonstrated by obvious traffic violations, but other factors can contribute to the strength of the case. Proving that an accident was caused or influenced by drowsy driving is not always easy, since there may not be any direct evidence available. In some cases, it may be possible to obtain records of a truck driver’s compliance with the Hours of Service rules. The possibility of tampering with records does exist, though, even with the electronic devices truckers are now required to use.

Such tampering, when it can be proven, can result not only in additional penalties, but possibly also additional damages for accident victims. We’ll say more about this in our next post, as well as the importance of working with an experienced attorney when pursuing a personal injury claim against a negligent truck driver.