The trucker’s log book can play a vital role in determining fault. Although a truck driver accident can stem from a variety of circumstances, one of the things a logbook may be able to show is if fatigue was a factor.
These types of cases can get pretty complicated, so speak with the Law Offices of Shane Smith in Peachtree City. A personal injury attorney can review not only the traffic laws that must be considered, but trucking industry standards and rules that may also apply.
Trucker’s Log Book and Hours Requirements
All truckers must complete a trucker’s log book to keep track of times the driver is:
- off duty;
- in the sleeper berth;
- driving; and
- on duty (not driving).
The reason this becomes important is because of the hours-of-service rules that limit how many hours a driver can operate a commercial vehicle, along with when and how long they should rest or sleep.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced new rules for truckers in late 2011 that went into effect in February 2012 and hold a compliance date of July 2013 for some of the provisions. The new rules reduced the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work in a week by 12 hours. Instead of 82 hours behind the wheel, they are now only allowed 70 hours.
Drivers also cannot work longer than eight hours without at least a 30 minute break. These changes were designed to reduce driver fatigue and improve safety on the roads.
Trucker’s Log Book: Evidence after an Accident
Proving fault in a truck driver accident could be easy if the logbook shows there was a violation in the number of hours spent on the road. A Peachtree City personal injury attorney can help you obtain this logbook and evaluate its contents.
Of course, the problem with a trucker’s logbook is the potential for information to be changed. But if an investigation reveals that the numbers have been forged or otherwise manipulated, this could make for a clear case of negligence.
One of the efforts underway is to require that all trucks be equipped with an electronic onboard data recorder, similar to a black box found on planes. These devices can record not only driving and stopping time, but speed, braking, and other vital information.
At the same time, these could also be manipulated. But you can help preserve evidence by consulting with a Peachtree City personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can start investigations immediately, possibly avoiding any tampering with evidence.
Liability in a Commercial Truck Accident
If a trucker’s logbook reveals that the driver violated the number of hours he or she was allowed to operate the big rig, this could prove negligence. But it isn’t just the driver who could be found liable.
The trucking company that employs the driver may also be responsible. In some cases it is the employer who authorizes or demands extra time on the road. This is especially true when there are deadlines to meet.
If this is found to be the case, then not only could the driver be liable but so could the trucking company. As a result, it could increase the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. Depending on the circumstances, other third parties could be found negligent, too.
Seeking Help from a Peachtree City Personal Injury Attorney
A truck driver accident oftentimes leads to devastating consequences. This is especially true if the trucker falls asleep at the wheel. But whether it’s this or another form of negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for the physical and emotional injuries you have suffered.
To learn about your rights and what you can do to protect them, contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith. Take the time to download our FREE guide which explains some of the costly mistakes you can avoid. We can be reached at 770-487-8999 (Peachtree City) or (888) 927-6955 Call a Peachtree City personal injury attorney to discuss your truck driver accident and how a truckers log book may be used as evidence.