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“Big rigs,” such as 18-wheelers and delivery trucks, often travel on major highways in Oklahoma at all hours. These vehicles are large and capable of hauling anything from perishable goods to hazardous chemicals, such as gas. When these trucks collide with other motor vehicles, the results are often far worse than common car accidents. Aside from damage to property and injuries to any people involved, truck accidents can cause secondary injuries when the substance or goods being hauled by the truck spill on the road.

Due to the devastating effects of trucking accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented the Hours of Service regulations, which it hopes will curb catastrophic truck accidents. Drivers of commercial motor vehicles must comply with these HOS regulations, which provide two hours of operations limits for truck drivers. The first is an 11-hour daily driving limit and the other is a 14-hour workday limit. In totally, truck drivers are only allowed to drive 70 hours per week and can drive again after resting 34 consecutive hours. After eight hours of operating a truck, a driver must take a 30-minute brake.

The goal of HOS regulations is to prevent truck driver fatigue, which is a known cause of truck accidents. Historically, before these regulations, truck drivers would spend as long as possible on the road, which was stressful and tiring. Truck drivers who are deprived of sleep are prone to making driving mistakes. A single miscalculation or error while driving can result in a catastrophic truck accident.

Any person who has recently been involved in a truck accident and the result of the investigation showed that the truck driver failed to follow HOS regulations may be entitled to compensation due to possible negligence. A personal injury lawsuit would seek damages based on losses, such as medical expenses.

Source: Dot.gov, “Hours of services,” Accessed on Nov. 24, 2014Post Type: Q&A