The laws and regulations exist to keep everyone safe and to punish those who break them. They apply for everyone on the road, regardless of the vehicle type. There are many ways one can break the law on the road. Some of the most common ones involve:
- Aggressive driving
- Cutting people off
- Running red lights
- Disobeying traffic laws
- Distracted driving
- Drug use
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Breaching the hours of service limits (truckers only)
Here is what happens when a truck driver breaks the law.
Causing The Accident
After the accident, usually, the first thing that happens is the investigation. Once the investigation is conducted, a “main suspect” will be revealed. If the truck driver is the one who caused the accident as a result of breaking the law (distracted driving, aggressive driving, running red lights, speeding), he or she will face serious consequences, which could involve:
- Having to pay fines to the injured party
- Going to jail
- Losing their driver’s license
- Getting suspended for a specific period of time
Keep in mind that these consequences depend on the severity of the accident. If the accident resulted only with bumper damages on another party’s vehicle, the trucker will simply have to pay a small fine and repairs for the other party’s car. However, if the accident resulted in death or a multi-vehicle accident, the truck driver will face much more than just a simple fine. He or she will be taken into custody, and will most likely go to jail or prison.
The punishment will be more severe if it is found that the trucker broke the law prior to causing the accident. Consult with Seattle Truck Accident Attorneys if you have been involved in a truck accident.
Driving Over The Service Limit
Since the late 90s, there has been an increase in the number of drivers who are caught driving more than they are allowed. According to the current hours of service rules, truckers must obey the following rules:
- Drive a maximum of 11 consecutive hours only after having 10 consecutive hours off.
- Not work more than 14 hours of the day. This means that if a trucker is unloading cargo for 4 hours, he or she cannot drive for more than 10 hours. However, even if it takes 2 hours to load and unload cargo, the truck driver is still not able to drive over 11 consecutive hours.
- Drive only when 8 or fewer hours have passed since the last 30-minute rest break
- Be on duty for no more than 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, and no more than 70 hours in 8 consecutive days. At this point, a truck driver must take a break of at least 34 hours (consecutive) before the clock restarts
Many truckers break this rule. As a result, they are driving fatigued and tired, and this is where most accidents occur. And when an accident occurs because of breaking the service limit rule, the trucker is usually found guilty and punished in accordance with the severity of the accident.
Call our Personal Injury Attorneys in Seattle if you have been injured in a truck accident. If eligible, our attorneys will help you secure substantial compensation.