If you’ve ever been driving on a Georgia highway when a tractor-trailer comes barreling up behind you or merges into your path, you understand how an otherwise uneventful road trip can suddenly become stressful. Sadly, truck accidents often result in fatalities or severe injuries to motorists who had no way of knowing that a sleepy, distracted or intoxicated truck driver was in their midst.
If you or none of your family members happen to be truckers, you may not be aware that workers in this industry must adhere to stringent hours of service regulations. It pays to learn about such regulations, especially if you’re involved in a truck accident and suffer injury.
Truck drivers operate on a 14 consecutive hour scale
The regulations that govern truck drivers’ time on the road isn’t based on a 24-hour per day time slot. Instead, if you are sharing the roadway with a trucker, you can reasonably expect that he or she has not been driving more than 11 hours in a 14-consecutive-hour period of time. Hours of service regulations state that truck drivers must pull off the road and rest for 10 hours once they reach their 11-hour limit.
The 11 hours of service must include 30-minute breaks
You’re at risk for serious injury (or worse) if you’re sharing the road with a truck driver who has disregarded hours of service regulations. Any sleepy driver is a dangerous driver, truck or no truck. However, truck drivers in particular may only drive eight consecutive hours but then must take a 30-minute break before they finish out their 11-hour shifts.
Additional regulations beyond the 14-hour daily limit
The rules applying to 11 consecutive hours on the road within a 14-hour time period are daily limit regulations. You’ll want to be aware that commercial truck drivers are also bound by regulations governing hours of service on a weekly basis as well.
You’re not responsible for making sure truckers follow the rules
When you get behind the wheel of a car to drive on a Georgia roadway, chances are high that you might encounter a tractor-trailer at some point along the way. You have no way of knowing whether a specific truck driver has fully adhered to hours-of-service regulations. When truck accidents occur, it’s often due to driver negligence.
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident, you may endure a long and arduous recovery. Taking time off work, medical bills and other issues may cause financial distress that you may not be prepared to resolve. Many recovering accident victims alleviate financial crises following truck accidents by seeking recovery for their losses in civil court.