Many commercial truck drivers, especially those with company incentives, push the envelope when it comes to abiding by the rules limiting the amount of time they are allowed to drive. Interstate commerce truck drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours, but only after 10 consecutive hours of being off duty. Furthermore, a driver may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14 hour limit.
Driver log books are the only hard evidence that show how long a driver has been on the road. Unfortunately, log books are often known as “joke books.” Many times, log books are filled out in advance of a trip to show the driver was in compliance. However, certain documents may lead a paper trail to show the driver has violated the hours of service rules.
Log books are a good place to start. I would suggest looking at the drivers’ log book for the year prior to the incident. It is important to note that the driver and the company have separate log books. Be sure to get both. At times, the log books do not match.
Lawyers groups have lobbied to change the current rules regarding hours of service but they have had very little success. It is unfortunate for the many of us who have to travel the roads for the purpose of work, travel, etc. A fatigued truck driver behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound tractor trailer can be an accident waiting to happen and, of course, the end result can be devastating and sometimes deadly for the rest of us.