Denver Trucking Violation Lawyers
Did a Trucker or Company Violate Federal Regulations? We’ll Find Out
Trucking companies and their employees cut corners all the time. From falsifying logbooks to encouraging drivers to overload their trucks, there isn’t much that doesn’t go on in this profit-driven industry. However, certain violations of federal laws are more than deceitful – they’re dangerous.
If a trucker hits the interstate after days on the road without getting enough sleep, he could veer into another lane and start a chain-reaction collision, which is likely to injure dozens of other motorists. That’s why the federal government takes commercial trucking violations so seriously. When a company or driver decides to ignore rules put into place to keep people safe, they can be held liable in a civil lawsuit.
We have experience holding these companies and their drivers accountable for their negligence. Today’s trucking companies and drivers are increasingly monitored by on-board electronic recording devices that can identify clear violations of the law that govern these big rigs. You need a law firm that understands these electronic devises and how they can make or break your case.
If you were injured in a crash with a big rig, call us. Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. has a team of nationally acclaimed trial lawyers who can investigate the circumstances involved in your accident and discover whether federal law was violated, and then fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Who Must Comply?
Commercial motor vehicles are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). To qualify as a commercial vehicle (CV), the vehicle must conduct interstate travel in the course of business and weigh over 10,000 pounds, be designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers for non-compensatory reasons, be designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers for compensation, or transport a certain amount of hazardous material. The men and women who operate these vehicles must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and pass a skills test before going out on the road.
What Are the Hours of Service?
To prevent drowsy driving crashes, FMCSA sets limits on how often truckers can drive, and the length of their shifts. Across the country, these HOS regulations are the same:
For truck drivers transporting goods or materials:
- Maximum driving session of 11 hours (after 10 consecutive hours off-duty).
- May not drive past 14th hour of shift after coming on-duty (after 10 consecutive hours off-duty).
- May drive only if 8 hours or fewer have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes.
- Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
- May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. May restart a 7/8 day period after taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.
For truck drivers transporting passengers:
- Maximum driving session of 10 hours (after 8 consecutive hours off-duty).
- May not drive past 15th hour of shift after coming on-duty (after 8 consecutive hours off-duty).
- Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth; may split the time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.
- May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
Rest breaks or other activities performed besides driving may not extend these times above, unless explicitly stated. FMCSA requires drivers to log their start times, driving times, sleeper berth periods, and rest breaks, which may be reviewed by inspectors periodically. But poor recordkeeping is commonplace, and after a crash, the trucking company has incentive to claim that they were following guidelines to avoid being fined and found liable.
Poor Maintenance Also Takes a Toll
Motor carriers, by law, have employees called “brake inspectors” who are responsible for making sure that maintenance, repairs, and inspections are carried out regularly. Some commercial drivers are qualified to repair their air brakes, but few are qualified as brake inspectors. By FMCSA regulations, tires must also be checked on trucks carrying hazardous materials; and whatever cargo is loaded must be inspected and secured at the start of the trip, again within 50 miles of the start, and whenever there is a change of duty status or three hours/150 miles have been driven. Other parts and accessories of the rig – lights, for example - must also be reviewed before the driver takes off; and he should be “satisfied” that they are "in good working order." But many companies and drivers fail to do this thoroughly, and we have seen many crashes because someone did not take the time to double-check a safety feature.
Why You Need a Top Trial Lawyer to Protect You
Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. has seen these companies and their insurers go as far as to hide logbooks, refuse to turn over black box data, forge information, and try to harass and intimidate victims of the wreck, who are already confused and in pain. We shield our clients from these tactics and provide aggressive advocacy, demanding the insurance money they are rightfully owed. Our trial attorneys know their way around the trucking industry, and have had many successes in the past. Call (877) 433-3906 to schedule a no-cost initial consultation with an experienced Denver truck accident lawyer.