Accidents with big rigs are dangerous and terrifying. Those involved in truck crashes are often seriously hurt. After a crash, all aspects of the situation need to be analyzed. An experienced Houston truck accident attorney will work to gather information and details about the crash. One factor that often comes into play is whether the truck driver was fatigued, a type of driver impairment. Truck drivers are limited to how long they can drive before resting. Drivers and trucking companies must log the driver’s time behind the wheel.
In the past, trucking companies and drivers were required to keep paper logs of their time and their work. The problem with these records is that they can easily be changed, lost or destroyed. As a result, the driver’s account of time behind the wheel could not be reviewed. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees the rules and regulations regarding truck safety.
The industry is moving to Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). ELDs are devices that automatically record the details of the truck driver. The devices eliminate the need for paperwork and drivers do not have to spend time keeping track of their activities. ELDs also make it easier to obtain accurate driver logs after a truck accident.
In the past, truck drivers utilized a system called an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD). These devices are the precursors to ELDs and are still being used by many companies. Trucking companies have until the end of 2019 to provide ELDs and may still utilize AOBRDs until then if they have been properly approved.
ELDs have more capabilities and are more reliable than AOBRDs. ELDs also can transfer data electronically using web services and email and local transfers using Bluetooth and USB devices. The electronic capabilities allow for more accurate driver logs. They also provide the ability to review the data with the assurance that it is correct.
After an accident with a truck, it is advisable to seek legal guidance from an experienced Houston truck accident attorney. Your lawyer will immediately act to secure information and data about the accident, including information from the ELD. Your attorney will review the log information to determine whether the driver was driving according to the law. The driver can only drive for a certain length of time before taking a break.
Sometimes, a driver may work longer hours than he should, often because the load might pay drivers. Drivers may try to push their limits and could be fatigued, which might cause an accident. If the driver was driving while fatigued and did not take the required breaks or rest time, he or she could be found grossly negligent in the accident.
At Texas Truck Accident Lawyers, we have seen many instances where we learned the driver was cheating on his log books only after a truck accident investigation. Sometimes, only after filing a truck accident lawsuit and subpoenaing cell phone records.
If you were hurt in an accident with a truck in Houston, you might be entitled to compensation that might include money for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.