A previous post on this blog discussed how the family of someone who got seriously injured in a Charlotte, North Carolina, truck accident should be aware of the signs of truck driver fatigue at the time of the collision, particularly if the incident happened at night.
For those truckers who are subject to them, the rest rules put out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may also serve as valuable resource to Charlotte-area families who are trying to make out a case of negligence so they can get compensation that they both need and deserve. These rest rules impose certain requirements on truck drivers to take a break from behind the wheel. The purpose of these rules is to maximize the chances that truckers who are driving are doing so while awake and fully alert.
Although the rest rules are someone complex and may require some legal interpretation, generally speaking, a truck driver who is transporting cargo can only take 11 hours of time behind the wheel before stopping to take a 10-hour break. In order to further reduce the risk of fatigue, the rules also require a driver to stop driving for 10 hours after being on the road for 14 hours.
This additional rule accounts for the fact that drivers often do stop for quick breaks, like for gas, and then do not count that quick break in their 11 hours behind the wheel.
Furthermore, drivers are also subject to weekly limits in their overall driving time. Once they meet these weekly limits, they must rest for 34 hours; or, in other words, take about a day and a half off work.
Although these rules by the FMSCA via fines, authority revocations and other penalties, a violation of these rules can also be evidence that a truck driver involved in a serious accident was too fatigued to be behind the wheel and thereby acted negligently by continuing to drive.