There are no specific laws in Columbus regarding hours of service for truck drivers. However, all truck drivers must abide by federal regulations that limit the amount of time they can be on the road. These rules require truck drivers to take breaks between driving shifts that are essential to preventing truck accidents.
Any truck driver operating in Columbus, Ohio, must comply with federal hours of service regulations. If a trucker violated these laws and caused an accident as a result, our Columbus truck accident lawyer can seek a financial recovery for your accident-related damages.
What Are the Laws Regarding Hours of Service for Truck Drivers in Ohio?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) explains that commercial truck drivers must:
- Driver for no longer than 11 hours at a time when carrying cargo: Truckers who transport cargo can drive for a maximum of 11 consecutive hours.
- Take 10 hours off: Truck drivers must take a mandatory 10-hour break between shifts.
- Be on duty for no longer than 14 hours: A truck driver can be “on duty” for 14 hours but still cannot drive for more than 11 consecutive hours. This 14-hour window allows for time spent waiting for cargo to be loaded and unloaded.
- Take 30-minute breaks: When a truck driver has driven for eight hours, they must take a 30-minute break.
Truck drivers who carry passengers may face slightly different hours of service regulations, but they must also take mandatory breaks between shifts and while driving.
Why Are Hours of Service Laws in Place for Commercial Truck Drivers?
The FMCSA (p.1) explains that the primary goal of hours of service limits is “to keep fatigued drivers off the public roadways.” When any motorist becomes fatigued, they may be more likely to:
- Fall asleep behind the wheel
- Close their eyes for unsafe periods of time
- Veer out of their lane
- Resort to unsafe caffeine consumption, which could lead to jumpiness or even trigger health events
- Strike vehicles in front of them
- Cause a head-on collision
Even if a truck driver has not reached their hours of service limit, they must pull over when signs of fatigue emerge. Taking a nap may be the only safe way to recharge before resuming driving.
What Happens If a Truck Driver Violates Federal Hours of Service Rules?
If commercial truck drivers operate a big rig beyond their allotted hours of service or while they have driver fatigue, they may:
- Cause an accident
- Cause serious injury
- Cause the death of one or more other people
These preventable outcomes occur because commercial drivers fail to obey industry regulations. Truck drivers may break the rules because:
- They think they can get away with violating hours of service limits.
- They receive payment based on the number of miles they drive, and driving longer, therefore, means they can earn more money.
- They are not far from their destination and think it is no big deal to drive a short distance (even if it means breaking non-negotiable federal rules)
- They have broken hours of service regulations before and do not believe they will face discipline from their employer.
There is no acceptable reason to drive beyond the allowed time limit, skip mandatory breaks, or violate other hours of service regulations.
How Trucking Companies Fail to Prevent Hours of Service Violations
Trucking companies can contribute to their employees’ rule-breaking by:
- Failing to emphasize the importance of hours of service regulations during training, at meetings, and in organizational literature (such as newsletters)
- Failing to discipline drivers who violate hours of service limits
- Failing to terminate drivers who show a pattern of driving beyond their allotted hours or skipping mandatory breaks
- Closely monitoring drivers’ hours with the latest technologies
Believe it or not, some trucking companies may turn a blind eye to or even encourage drivers to break safety-related rules. If a trucking company fails to take reasonable measures to ensure driver compliance, the trucking company is liable for all resulting accidents.
Can I Sue a Truck Driver (or Trucking Company) If They Caused My Accident?
You may sue a truck driver or trucking company whose negligence contributed to your truck accident. If an insurance claim is not sufficient to cover your accident-related damages, filing a lawsuit may become necessary.
You may not be familiar with lawsuits, though, and may not be comfortable leading your case. You can hire a Columbus truck accident lawyer from our firm to fight for the compensation you are entitled to.
Consider Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney From Our Law Office
When you hire a Columbus personal injury lawyer from our team, we will:
- Secure evidence related to the accident, including work records, black box data, statements from trucking company representatives, and other evidence that may prove the driver broke hours of service regulations
- Establish who is financially responsible for your accident-related damages
- Calculate and document your damages
- Oversee all case-related communications and paperwork
- Negotiate a settlement for you
- Take your case to trial, if necessary
We are a full-service firm committed to ensuring our clients’ financial recoveries.
We Will Be
There To Help
You All The Way
We Will Seek Compensation for All Your Truck Accident-Related Damages
Our Columbus personal injury team will evaluate the harm you’ve suffered because of a negligent truck driver, which may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Diminished earning power
- Lost income
- Property expenses (including vehicle repairs and temporary transportation)
If your loved one suffered fatal injuries in a truck accident, we offer our condolences and services. A Columbus wrongful death lawyer from our team will represent you and any other loved ones affected by the untimely passing.
Call The Fitch Law Firm LLC for a Free Consultation About a Columbus Truck Accident
We are ready to review the commercial truck accident that harmed you or a loved one. We can explain your legal options and determine if the liable party violated specific laws regarding hours of service for commercial truck drivers.
We accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so we do not charge up front for our personal injury services in Columbus. We will handle your entire case while you or a loved one recovers from their injuries. Contact us today to get started.
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