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DALLAS, TX, October 04, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A trucker's work day is tiring, even though he is seated at the wheel most of the time. Truck design has improved over the years so that seats are more comfortable, ventilation is better, and ergonomic principles have governed cab design.
But the long hours of driving require continual attentiveness, perhaps more so than long hours of driving a car. The trucker cannot make any sudden changes in speed or in lane changing, but must be aware of any needed changes well before they are implemented. Fully loaded, a big rig can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds. That means more time is needed for starting, stopping and lane changing.
Limits on Continuous Work Hours
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determines work hours and conditions for truckers engaged in interstate commerce.
• The trucker may drive for 11 hours and work for as much as 14 hours (including non-driving work such as checking or adjusting loads, checking tires, filling the gas tank etc.) but then must take ten hours off.
• If a driver works for 60 hours in a seven-day period or for 70 hours in an eight-day period, he must then take 34 consecutive hours off.
Truck drivers are usually paid according to how many miles or hours they drive. That motivates them to work at, or close to, the maximum legal time allowed and a 50-hour work week is common.
Depending on what the load is, the driver may load and unload his own truck. That adds to fatigue by requiring a lot of lifting and carrying. If the driver is transporting fresh produce or bakery items, work hours start late at night or very early in the morning. All these factors can add to a trucker's fatigue. When a trucker is involved in an accident, fatigue is often one of the factors that truck accident attorneys discover as part of the accident cause.
Trucker Log Books
The FMCSA requires truck drivers to keep a log book that records their driving hours and off-work hours. Records must be updated daily. Trucking companies also require their drivers to keep records and may have certain forms to be filled out. These can be combined with the FMCSA formats for logging hours. There is also an automatic recording device in the truck that must meet certain federal requirements.
Information that must be recorded for the FMCSA includes:
• Truck number
• Name of carrier and the main office address
• Date and time
• Total miles driven that day
• Name of co-driver
• Shipping document numbers
• Driver's signature to certify the truth of all entries
Failure to record this daily information makes the driver subject to prosecution.
Despite all the regulations, truckers still become fatigued at times, which makes them less attentive and slower in their reflexes. When a truck collides with a passenger vehicle, it can be a devastating accident for the car occupants and often fatal. Because of his height above the other vehicles and his solid cabin, the trucker often sustains only minor injuries or none at all.
If a truck accident has claimed the life of your loved one, or if you have been badly injured in a truck accident, you will be well served by an experienced truck accident attorney who knows all the trucking regulations and can navigate through the maze to obtain full and fair compensation for you.
In the Dallas, Texas area, Polewski & Associates are ready to help and even offer you the services of a lawyer who is also a physician.
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