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Hours of Vehicle Service Violations in Colorado

Hours of Service Violations In Colorado

The federal government enforces many laws that are aimed at preventing truck accidents. As some of the deadliest traffic accidents, it is important for truck companies to obey these laws to optimize the safety of the trucking industry. One important law to prevent truck driver fatigue and drowsy driving accidents is the hours-of-service (HOS) regulation.

What Are Hours-of-Service Laws?

Hours-of-service regulations are laws issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to control the number of working hours that a truck driver can perform without taking a rest break. These laws are in place to protect the public by preventing truck driver fatigue.

With some exceptions for short-haul truckers and adverse weather conditions, the following are the HOS rules that a truck driver who is carrying property must obey:

  • 11-hour driving limit after 10 consecutive hours off-duty
  • 14-hour working limit after 10 consecutive hours off-duty
  • 30-minute driving break after driving for a period of 8 cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption
  • 60/70 hour working limit in 7/8 consecutive days

If a commercial driver is carrying passengers, these rules are altered to a 10-hour driving limit and a 15-hour working limit after 8 consecutive hours off-duty. There are also rules regarding how many hours a truck driver must spend in the sleeper berth of a truck. Finally, common carriers operating within the State of Colorado must abide by statewide laws and regulations, which match federal laws.

What Is the Risk of Violating the Hours of Vehicle Service Law?

It is extremely important for trucking companies and their truck drivers to obey federal hours-of-service regulations. Truck drivers are more prone to fatigue than many other drivers due to job factors such as long hours alone on the road, overnight shifts, reversed sleep schedules, and medical issues such as obesity and sleep apnea.

If a truck driver operates a big rig beyond his or her lawful hours of service, he or she may become drowsy or fall asleep behind the wheel. Drowsy driving is a significant accident risk that has been compared to drunk driving in how it affects a driver’s abilities. A drowsy or fatigued truck driver may be unable to react in a timely manner to changing roadway situations.

Studies show that even mild sleep deprivation is enough to contribute to an accident. The driver may be unable to notice a hazard and stop in time to avoid a collision, resulting in a devastating high-speed rear-end collision or override accident. Sadly, many occupants in smaller vehicles suffer fatal injuries in these collisions.

How Can You Prove an Hours-of-Service Violation?

If you get injured or a loved one dies in a trucking accident and you suspect that the trucker was in violation of his or her HOS regulations, a Denver attorney who specializes in truck accident cases can help you gather evidence to prove fault. A lawyer can conduct a comprehensive investigation of the crash to determine fault and causation.

Trucking companies and their drivers are required to maintain logs and records that document a driver’s hours of service. An attorney can subpoena these records from a trucking company, access the truck’s black box information, review the police report, interview witnesses and take other steps to collect evidence to prove violated HOS rules.

You have the burden of proof in a trucking accident claim, meaning you must show that the truck driver or trucking company is more likely to be at fault for your accident than not. Hiring an attorney from the beginning of your case can make it easier to meet your burden of proof and collect the financial compensation that you deserve. Request a free consultation at The Fang Law Firm to learn more.