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A big rig is another name for a semi truck, a truck with a trailer that has no front axle, but rests on the back of the truck. Because of their flexibility and convenience in hauling cargo, these trucks represent the bulk of vehicle miles traveled.
Although they represent less than ¼ of large trucks registered in the United States, they represent nearly 2/3 of all vehicle miles traveled. The long miles driven by big rig drivers equate to long hours and this can contribute to driver fatigue, which can lead to accidents. Big rigs represent over 65% of trucks involved in fatal accidents.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a big rig accident, contact the Columbus, Ohio personal injury lawyers at Robert W. Kerpsack CO., L.P.A. by calling (614) 766-2000 to talk about how a lawsuit might help you pay unexpected bills that result from the accident.
Hours of Service Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration governs what are known as Hours of Service (HoS) regulations, which designate how long a driver can be behind the wheel within any consecutive period. These regulations are designed to keep fatigued drivers off the road.
Currently, the HoS regulations dictate that a driver cannot drive more than 11 hours during a 14-hour window after coming off a 10-hour rest. This means that a driver cannot drive more than 11 hours in any 24 hour period and it encourages drivers to maintain a 24-hour cycle that can keep them from experiencing fatigue due to circadian rhythm disruption. Drivers are also not allowed to drive more than 60 hours in any 7 days or 70 hours in any 8 days. They can only restart the 7/8 day cycle by taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
To track their hours driving and resting, every big rig driver is asked to maintain a log book that reports when they are driving or otherwise on duty or are in their sleeper birth or off duty.
Tight Schedules and Carrier Pressure
Trucking companies (also known as carriers) often make promises about when they can deliver cargo that require a driver to maintain a very tight schedule. Sometimes this promise barely fits within what a driver can achieve while following the HoS guidelines and driving at a safe speed, or it may be impossible.
When this occurs, a big rig driver may feel pressure from the carrier to either drive too fast or drive for prolonged periods, creating two of the most dangerous situations: a fatigued big rig driver and a big rig driver driving too fast for conditions. When this occurs, truck accidents become more likely.
If you lost a loved one or were injured in a commercial vehicle accident resulting from fatigue and/or reckless behaivor, we can help. The Columbus, Ohio personal injury attorneys at Robert W. Kerpsack can stand up for your rights against the carrier that may be responsible for your accident. Please schedule a free consultation through our website or by phone at (614) 766-2000 today.