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Atlanta, Georgia Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyers - Hours of Service

If you or your spouse, child or parent has been injured in a Georgia traffic collision involving a heavy goods vehicle such as an 18-wheeler or semi-truck, then they have most likely suffered extremely serious injuries.  As experienced Atlanta tractor trailer accident lawyers, we know that most tractor trailers weigh in between 10,000 and 80,000 pounds.  The extent of property damage and bodily injuries caused by a tractor trailer wreck can be staggering.  As a result, there are very strict Federal guidelines concerning the amount of time a professional tractor trailer driver is permitted to be behind the wheel of any kind of commercial truck.

FMCSA Hours of Service Rules

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are the laws by which motor carrier companies and their drivers must operate.  These rules clearly and purposefully restrict the amount of time which a tractor trailer driver can be on duty.  The current limits imposed on CDL drivers state that they must not drive for more than 11 consecutive hours.  Truckers are also prohibited from being “on duty” for shifts in excess of 14 consecutive hours.  According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “on duty” refers to any and all time spent loading or unloading their truck, performing their pre-trip vehicle inspection, waiting, or any other time spent on the job in some capacity.

Once a truck driver reaches their work limit per Federal law, they are required to spend at least ten consecutive hours “off duty” before beginning their next shift.  Ideally, as much of this time as possible should be spent sleeping.  The maximum amount of time a truck driver can spend on duty is 60 hours per week.  (This is assuming that the motor carrier does not operate seven days a week. If the trucking company does work seven days a week, this limit is changed to a maximum of 70 hours every eight days.)  Once a driver has accumulated their maximum number of on duty hours for a given week, Federal law mandates that they spend a minimum of 34 consecutive hours off duty before they are permitted to begin their next week's shift.

Gathering Evidence to Support Your Truck Accident Claim

Despite the strict laws governing the safe operating of large commercial trucks, as  Atlanta tractor trailer accidents lawyers, we know that many trucking companies and their drivers routinely disregard these requirements.  By law, truck drivers are required to maintain accurate logbooks documenting their activities regarding on and off duty hours.  Sadly, these records are sometimes intentionally destroyed by the trucking company if they believe their driver was in fact at fault for a crash involving another vehicle.  It is worth noting that motor carriers have no obligation to preserve truckers' hours of service records beyond the previous six months.  The sooner you hire an experienced Atlanta tractor trailer accidents lawyer for your personal injury case, the more chance there is that this valuable evidence can be preserved as proof against the trucking company and their insurance adjustors.

Call the Atlanta tractor trailer accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C., today for a free consultation on your truck wreck case. We can be reached at (404) 991-5950 or by filling out our online case evaluation form.

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