Posted in Truck Accidents on December 01, 2021

proving truck accident faultTrying to prove a truck driver is at fault for an accident can be a challenge. If you sustained an injury due to the truck driver’s negligent actions, you deserve compensation from the insurance company to compensate for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. However, the evidence you need might not be available, or you don’t know where to find it.

A travel log is critical evidence in any claim against a truck driver. The travel log, also referred to as a logbook, contains information associated with a truck driver’s activity every 24 hours. The logbook could have details to prove the trucker behaved recklessly or violated a federal regulation. If you can obtain the travel log, you might be able to hold the truck driver liable for your injury.

Federal Regulations for Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces various regulations truck drivers and motor carriers must follow. Particularly, the hours of service regulations aim to combat driver fatigue and prevent accidents.

The standards included in the hours of service regulations are:

  • Drive no more than eleven hours after ten off-duty hours
  • Take a thirty-minute break after driving for eight cumulative hours without at least a thirty-minute interruption
  • Extend the driving limit by two hours when adverse conditions exist
  • Splitting the ten-hour off-duty period is allowed as long as the driver spends at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and at least two hours off duty regardless of whether they’re in the sleeper berth
  • Drive no more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days

If a truck driver violates this regulation in any way, they could face an expensive fine. They could even lose their commercial driver’s license if they continue to violate the hours of service regulations.

Information Included in the Logbook

truck driver log bookThe FMCSA requires every truck driver to complete a record of duty status for each 24-hour period. The information drivers record must include breaks, on-duty hours, and off-duty hours. Some of the details required to be included in the logbook are:

  • Signature of the trucker
  • The date the twenty-four hours begin
  • Total number of driving hours
  • Name of the motor carrier and address for the main office
  • Name of the co-driver
  • Number of hours spent in the sleeper birth, off duty, and on breaks
  • Shipper name or shipping document name and contents the truck contains
  • Time zone of the trucker’s home terminal location, regardless of different time zones passed through while driving
  • City, town, or village and the state abbreviation for each change of duty status
  • Explanations for unusual log entries or circumstances
  • Licensing state and the truck number or license number of the truck

Some truck drivers don’t have to follow the regulation requiring a record of duty status. For example, truckers driving within a 100 air-mile radius of their home terminal are not required to write down information related to their 24-hour periods.

Information Recorded by Electronic Logging Devices

Commercial trucks have electronic logging devices (ELD) that synchronize with the engine and automatically record data associated with the vehicle’s movements and truck driver’s actions.

The information the ELD records and stores can include:

  • Truck motion status
  • Engine hours
  • The truck driver’s duty status
  • Total number of miles driven
  • Engine power status
  • The trucker or authorized user’s identification and details for the vehicle and motor carrier

The ELD doesn’t record all information required by the FMCSA. That means the truck driver must enter certain information manually.

If requested by law enforcement or another official, the truck driver can electronically transfer the information stored in the ELD. This allows investigations into accidents to determine whether the trucker’s actions are to blame.

How to Prove Fault for a Truck Accident

If the truck driver is responsible for causing the crash, you should seek legal representation immediately. You need an experienced lawyer by your side to help you prove what happened. Since truck accident cases are complex, you shouldn’t try to handle yours alone. You could end up without the compensation you need to pay for your medical bills and other expenses.

Truck accident lawyers are familiar with state laws and have all the necessary resources to obtain evidence, such as electronic logging device data and truck drivers’ records of duty status. The included information could show the trucker was exceeding the maximum driving limit, failing to take the required breaks, or another negligent action.

Contact Evans Moore, LLC

Evans Moore, LLC is available 24/7 to take your call. We’re ready to represent you in your case against the truck driver and hold them responsible for their misconduct. You can depend on us to fight by your side for the justice and compensation you deserve.

If you suffered injuries in an accident due to a truck driver’s negligence, call the South Carolina truck accident lawyers of Evans Moore, LLC at (843) 995-5000 right now for a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.