New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyers: Driving Log Violations – How They Contribute to Truck Accidents
Logbook Violations—A Significant Cause of Trucking Accidents
Under federal law, over-the-road and commercial truck drivers must keep logbooks documenting their activity, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To stay in compliance with trucking regulations, truckers must provide an account of all 15 minute periods. This is to ensure that drivers do not violate rules governing how much time can be spent behind the wheel during any given period.
Under regulations that went into effect on July 1, 2013, all drivers regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMSA) must comply with the following requirements:
- All drivers must take at least one 30 minute break during the first 8 hours of any shift
- The average number of hours worked may not exceed 70. If it does, the driver must be off the road for a minimum of 34 hours (including two consecutive nights between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.) before getting back behind the wheel
- Truckers cannot drive more than 11 consecutive hours after a 10 hour break, and may not be driving beyond the 14th consecutive hour after a 10 hour break (for example, a truck may not drive for 7 hours, take a four hour break, and then drive more than three hours. If, however, you have an approved sleeper berth in your truck, any time spent in the sleeper berth does not count toward the 14 hour rule.
The problem that stems directly from logbook violations is driver fatigue. Drivers who either fail to properly document their time, or who intentionally falsify logbooks, are frequently on the road without adequate rest, diminishing their attention and reflexes.
In a study conducted by the FCMSA, 13% of all large truck accidents were attributed to driver fatigue. Nearly one out of every 12 major truck wrecks involved drivers who reported falling asleep at the wheel, and another 40% of drivers acknowledged that minor fatigue may have contributed to the crash.
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