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Adhering to hours of service could prevent truck accidents

Truckers and truck companies can pose all kinds of risks if they are not functioning properly. A drunk or distracted trucker can blow past stop lights, swerve into oncoming traffic and fail to yield prior to turning. An improperly maintained truck can also wreak havoc if, for example, cargo is not appropriately secured. But those Tennesseans who have found themselves on the roadways early in the morning or late at night may find themselves wondering about the hours kept by truckers. When we think of a trucker pulling an all-nighter, we can quickly see where a dangerous situation could arise.

Truckers are supposed to adhere to federal regulations with regard to their driving hours, though it is difficult to enforce compliance. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a trucker shouldn't drive more than 11 hours after he or she takes a 10 consecutive hour long break. Also, a trucker cannot drive after the 14th hour following their 10-hour break. It also against regulations to drive more than 60 hours in a seven day period.

In addition to limitations on driving time, truckers must adhere to regulations regarding breaks. Accordingly, a trucker should ensure that he or she receives enough rest between shifts, which may include at least eight hours in a sleeper berth.

It is far too common for fatigued truckers to cause an injurious or fatal truck accident. The victims in these wrecks are suddenly dealt with unexpected damages, which may be physical, emotional and financial in nature. Recovering from these damages can be time-consuming, painful and costly. Fortunately, these individuals may be able to file a lawsuit against a trucker and the company for which he or she works in hopes of recovering the compensation he or she deserves.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Summary of Hours of Service Regulations," accessed on Sept. 9, 2016

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