In 2009, more than half of inspected trucks in North Carolina violated safety or maintenance regulations. For over a decade, the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed federal standards and regulations for truck drivers in order to minimize risks and improve safety. In late 2011, the FMCSA addressed a growing problem in the truck industry: Driver fatigue. New hours-of-service regulations began with an 18-month grace period that ended in July 2013.
Now commercial truck drivers are no longer permitted to work up to 82 hours per week, instead they must work no more than 70 hours. Although drivers are still permitted to drive 11 hours in a single day (and work a combined 14 hours), a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift is mandatory for drivers.
Truck drivers must maintain a detailed log book that includes the times of their shifts and breaks. As part of evidence collection after a tractor-trailer or other commercial truck accident in North Carolina, our attorneys review these materials to find evidence of possible driver negligence and violations. In addition to helping our truck accident attorneys build a strong case and negotiate substantial settlements for accident victims, negligent truck drivers may be fined and be ordered to pay penalties in excess of $10,000.
According to the US DOT, about 13% of commercial vehicle crashes are the result of driver fatigue. Since the new regulations started to roll out, the number of commercial truck and bus crashes dropped by approximately 3,300 in a calendar year.
For those who do suffer injuries or damages as a result of a negligent truck driver in North Carolina, accident evidence is essential. In addition to hours-of-service safety violations, our truck accident attorneys in Raleigh review key areas where negligence can be proven, such as improperly maintained vehicles, overloaded freight, or texting while driving. Sometimes a truck company has underhanded methods that modify evidence in their favor. Learn about evidence spoliation and how our attorneys address this critical area of injury law.