Put Our Decades of Experience To The Test Schedule Your Free Consultation

How Can the Federal Rest Rules Help in Fatigued Driver Case?

Goldstein Heslop Steele Clapper Oswalt & Smith Dec. 10, 2021

A previous post on this blog talked about how important it is for truck drivers to operate their vehicles alert and on a good night’s rest.

When truckers try to push through their tiredness to get their delivery done faster, perhaps because they are looking for a bonus or are under pressure from their employers, they run the risk of making serious errors due to their fatigue and causing severe truck accidents.

People in and around the Altoona area have every right to seek compensation from the fatigued truck driver, and his trucking company, after this sort of accident if they have been significantly injured.

However, getting compensation can be complicated by the fact that the trucker may argue that he was not too tired to drive. Short of the trucker’s actually falling asleep behind the wheel, it can be difficult to prove exactly how fatigued a truck driver was at the time of an accident.

As this blog has mentioned previously, however, many truckers in Pennsylvania are subject to what are commonly called the federal rest rules. These rules, officially called Hours of Service Regulations, specify how many hours a trucker can be on the road in a given shift, or in a given week, before she must stop and take the opportunity for sleep. Not following these rules can mean fines and other administrative penalties for a trucker or a trucking company.

These rest rules can help a victim and her attorney prove truck driver fatigue and, thus, get compensation for the victim’s injuries. Specifically, under a legal doctrine called negligence per se, a victim can point out that the driver was in violation of the rest rules and, thus, indirectly, prove the driver was too tired to operate safely, even if the driver argues otherwise.