How to Prove an Hours of Service Violation After a Truck Accident

December 5, 2019
How to Prove an Hours of Service Violation After a Truck Accident

Drowsy driving is a huge problem in the trucking industry due to a number of factors including profit margins and pressure to transport goods quickly. Many truckers make a habit out of driving while fatigued, which reduces their alertness and slows down their reaction time. When this leads to a collision, the people in the smaller vehicle are likely to suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries.

The Hours of Service (HoS) Regulations were implemented to prevent drowsy driving in the trucking industry by placing limits on the number of consecutive hours a commercial driver can stay on the road. Unfortunately, some truck drivers routinely violate the Hours of Service Regulations. If you or someone you love was hurt in a truck wreck, your attorney should investigate whether an HoS violation occurred. This would constitute negligence, and any evidence of such a violation could strengthen your claim for damages.

Important Evidence to Prove an Hours of Service Violation

There are many kinds of evidence your truck accident lawyer might use to prove an HoS violation. Much of this evidence may only be available for a few weeks after the crash, and it is possible that key evidence will be altered by the truck driver or the motor carrier. As such, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible so the investigation can begin right away.

Below are a few examples of evidence your lawyer might use to prove an Hours of Service violation:

  • Electronic Data Logs: Truck drivers must keep records of their driving information in a logbook, usually in the form of electronic data logs (EDLs). These logs, however, are vulnerable to being altered or destroyed by the truck driver or their employer. Fortunately, there are many other kinds of documentation your lawyer can review to determine if the driving logs were falsified.
  • Cellphone Records: Your attorney may file a subpoena to obtain emails, text messages, and GPS data that could help prove the truck driver was drowsy or on the road for an excessive number of hours. If, for example, the truck driver claims to have been resting at a particular time but cell phone records show they were on the phone at that time, this may help prove an HoS violation.
  • Other GPS Data: If the truck had a Qualcomm system or some other GPS system, its data should show the truck’s location at various times throughout the day. This may contradict information in the logbook.
  • Vehicle Maintenance Records: Sometimes a trucker or motor carrier will argue that the vehicle was getting maintenance or repair. Your lawyer can review the maintenance records and logbook to determine if the driver was at the repair facility for a sufficient amount of time to complete the repairs or to find out if the logbook and driving hours were falsified.
  • Inspection Records: At what times were the pre- and post-trip inspection conducted? A review of the inspection records might reveal that the trucker was on the road for too long and in violation of HoS Regulations.
  • Timestamped Bills of Lading: Cargo manifests may show when the goods being transported were shipped or received. These records can be compared to the logbook to identify discrepancies.
  • Receipts: Receipts for gas, food, and lodging can be evaluated to determine if the logbook is accurate. Your lawyer may also review toll booth tickets and weigh station records to identify discrepancies.

Speak with a Truck Accident Attorney in Spartanburg

At Hodge & Langley Law Firm, we have years of experience investigating truck accidents and taking on some of the largest insurance carriers in the country. We will aggressively fight for the full compensation that you and your loved ones deserve. Call 864-585-3873 or use our Contact Form to set up a free case evaluation.

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