The aftermath of an accident involving a huge semi truck can be catastrophic. These crash scenes can involve backed-up traffic, several emergency response vehicles, injured motorists, potential cargo spills and extensive property damage. It can be overwhelming and chaotic.
In these situations, getting medical attention and clearing the road are top priorities. This is typically not the time when people will get answers to questions about who caused the accident or what factors led to the crash. A thorough investigation must be launched after a crash to find these answers; one critical piece of evidence that may be scrutinized is a trucker's log book.
Unlike regular motorists, most truckers are required to keep log books when they are on the job. These records track when a trucker is on the job, when he or she is taking a break and when a driver is off duty.
The reason these can be such critical pieces of information is that they can reveal violations of the Hours of Service regulations with which commercial truckers must comply. These regulations were put in place to prevent truckers from being on the road when they are not adequately rested, as fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents in the U.S.
Essentially, the HOS regulations set strict limits on when truckers must take a break, how long that break must be and how many consecutive hours they are permitted to be behind the wheel.
Log books can be electronic or manual and truckers and trucking companies are expected to keep these records accurate and updated. In the event of an accident, therefore, these records can be key in identifying any potential violations that may suggest an accident was caused by trucker fatigue. Further, any records that are found to be manipulated or falsified may serve as evidence in a case against the trucker or the trucker's employer.
Immediately after a crash, log book records and trucking regulations may be the last things on the minds of victims and their families. However, because they are often crucial factors in a personal injury claim, it is important to know what they are.
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a truck accident, an attorney can prove to be a critical ally in tracking down the answers you deserve.