In an effort to improve highway safety and reduce truck accidents nationwide, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict regulations in place for the trucking and shipping industries.
Many of these regulations stipulate how long truck drivers in West Virginia and across the country can stay on the road before taking a break. All drivers transporting goods, for example, may only operate their trucks for a total of 11 hours before taking a mandatory 10 consecutive hours off. They also may not drive after more than 14 straight on-duty hours.
Additionally, most truck operators (except for some short-haul drivers) must stop driving if more than eight hours have passed since they last took a sleep break of at least a half-hour. And operators may only drive for a maximum of 60 hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours across eight consecutive days. These rules are in place for a good reason: truck accidents cause serious injury and claim thousands of lives nationwide every year.
Truck accident statistics and hazards
The FMCSA reports that there were nearly 4,000 fatal accidents involving large trucks and buses in the United States in 2014, the last year for which data is available. These crashes often result in significant injuries and property damage for the individuals involved because the average semi-truck has much more weight and volume than passenger vehicles.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, you may need to seek compensation against the driver, a trucking company, the entity in charge of loading the trailer or any other parties fully or partially at fault. Trucking companies have access to a team of experienced lawyers who will defend them, which is why you need equally skilled legal counsel to hold the responsible parties accountable. For further guidance, consult a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer with Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC.