I am getting ready to file a major trucking accident case and in reviewing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, I thought I might share them with you. However, before I do that, I wanted to throw a bone to truck drivers. These guys are often overworked and underpayed. They were long hard hours and often pushed to the bone to deliver their loads. Companies push these men and women only seeing the bottom line. They analyze accidents in the form of profit and loss of money, not human life. Luckily this is where I get to come in. When these drivers are pushed to the brink and their fatigue results in serious injury or death to innocent people on the highway, I get to pursue the greedy trucking company for their negligence.
Aside from the above rant, there are real world laws that apply to Truckers in all states. They are called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These rules can lead to negligence per se in the legal world. I will expand on that another day but simply want to share the below Regulations for tired drivers. These come into play in any trucking lawsuit.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations often referred to in cases where tired truckers wreck include the following:
49 C.F.R. § 392.3, Driver Impairment.
No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle.
FMCSR, 49 C.F.R. § 390.11 Motor carrier to require observance of driver regulations.
Whenever … a duty is prescribed for a driver or a prohibition is imposed upon the driver, it shall be the duty of the motor carrier to require observance of such duty or prohibition. If the motor carrier is a driver, the driver shall likewise be bound.
FMCSR, 49 C.F.R. § 390.13, provides that
“No person shall aid, abet, encourage, or require a motor carrier or its employees to violate the rules of this chapter.” It does not say “no motor carrier.”
FMCSR, 49 CFR 390.5 defines “person” as follows:
Person means any individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, or any other organized group of individuals.
FMCSR, 49 CFR § 395.3 Maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles.
Subject to the exceptions and exemptions in § 395.1:
(a) No motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle:
(1) More than 11 cumulative hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty; or
(2) For any period after the end of the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty, except when a property-carrying driver complies with the provisions of § 395.1(o) or § 395.1(e)(2).
(b) No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, for any period after-
(1) Having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or
(2) Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.
FMCSR, 49 CFR § 395.8 Driver’s record of duty status.
(a) Except for a private motor carrier of passengers (nonbusiness), every motor carrier shall require every driver used by the motor carrier to record his/her duty status for each 24 hour period using the methods prescribed [herein]….
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(e) Failure to complete the record of duty activities of this section or § 395.15, failure to preserve a record of such duty activities, or making of false reports in connection with such duty activities shall make the driver and/or the carrier liable to prosecution.