English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations apply to all tractor-trailers and truck drivers in the U.S., including those in Kentucky and Tennessee. These regulations cover every aspect of operating, maintaining, and driving a truck. One of the most important, but also most ignored, part of these regulations concerns how long a driver can be behind the wheel in a given day, called hours of service rule. The hours of service rule provides that a truck driver may work no more than 14 hours in a day, with only 11 of those hours actual driving time. The rule is intended to limit truck driver fatigue. A truck driver can only operate a vehicle for 8 consecutive hours before taking a break, which must be 30 minutes or longer. The truck driver must record his hours of service in a drivers log book that he or she must keep updated at all times while driving.
These rules are hard to enforce. Often, when we handle a truck accident case for a client, this is one of the first things we examine, and we often find that the trucking company and truck driver has violated this rule, falsified their log book, or exceed their hours of service. Having an experienced attorney examine the drivers log books and hours of services is critical when a truck driver has caused a wreck.