How To Prove ‘Hours-Of-Service’ Violation After A Minnesota Truck Accident

If you or somebody you care about has been involved in an accident with a large truck, there are several things you need to consider. It is important that you recover the compensation you are entitled to. If the truck driver was in violation of their “hours of service” requirements, then you need to know how to prove the violation. However, that is not always easy to do. Trucking companies and their insurance carriers have vast resources at their disposal. With help from a Minnesota truck accident attorney, there are several steps you can take to secure the evidence necessary to prove your case.

What are the hours a truck driver is allowed to operate?

A truck driver’s hours of service are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a part of the US Department of Transportation (DOT). This agency regulates how many hours a truck driver they operate per day as well as how many they may operate per workweek. These rules are in place in order to ensure safety on the roadway. The basic requirements for a truck driver’s hours of service are:

  • After being off-duty for 10 consecutive hours, a driver is allowed a 14-hour driving window, in which the driver is allowed 11 hours of driving time. This 14-hour period includes breaks for a nap, food, etc.
  • Drivers must take a 30-minute break if they have driven for more than eight consecutive hours.
  • Depending on how the workweek is measured (based on a 7 or 8-day period), a driver is allowed 60 to 70 hours in a workweek.

Proving a violation

Truck accident victims will need to prove that the driver was responsible for violating the hours of service regulation by gathering certain evidence. This process will be easier with help from a Minnesota truck accident attorney who can work to gather the following:

  • black box data from the truck
  • hours of service logbook entries
  • any GPS data that recorded the truck’s location
  • cell data, including call and text logs
  • weigh station receipts
  • maintenance records in logs
  • receipts from restaurants and gas stations
  • and more

In many cases, compiling all this data may require working through the courts and filing subpoenas. This information may not be available unless you file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and company.

What are the consequences of violating hours of service requirements?

Commercial trucks are much larger than other vehicles on the roadway. According to the FMCSA, a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Vehicles of this size and weight can inflict serious damages and injuries on those in traditional passenger vehicles. It is not uncommon for victims of truck accidents to sustain the following serious injuries:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Open head injuries
  • Concussions
  • Broken and dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says that there were 4,623 total accidents involving large commercial trucks during the latest reporting year in the state. Out of these incidents, there were 44 fatalities and 1,345 total injuries. Victims of large truck accidents caused by a truck driver’s negligence should never have to worry about how they will pay for their medical bills and other hidden expenses related to the incident.