In Michigan, truckers are legally required to keep detailed logbooks of the hours they drive. These books are to ensure that a motorist does not drive too many hours straight and become fatigued—which would, naturally, increase the risk of a crash. Unfortunately, many truckers do not input accurate information into their logbooks, which violates both federal laws and company rules.
As a result, there are often direct connections between Michigan truck accidents and falsified logbooks. When a truck driver intentionally logs incorrect hours to earn more money, they place both themselves and others at risk, as well as leave themselves to be considered liable in the event of a crash.
Therefore, if you were injured in a crash with a truck, it might be essential to hire a skilled lawyer to help investigate how an accident happened. If it is determined that a trucker faked their logged hours, their fatigue might have caused a crash, meaning you might be able to recover compensation against them in a civil lawsuit.
The Regulations on Keeping an Accurate Record
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has passed regulations to keep both truck drivers and all other motorists on the road safe. According to the DOT, commercial truck drivers are only allowed to drive 11 hours at a time, after which, they must rest for at least ten consecutive hours before resuming their route.
Additionally, once a driver resumes their duties, they may not drive more than 14 consecutive hours. During the course of seven to eight days, they may not drive more than 60 or 70 hours. Then, a trucker may restart their schedule after seven or eights days—only after taking 34 hours of break time.
As a result, when a truck driver falsifies their logbooks and continues driving passed their restricted hours, they might not only cost their employer a significant amount of money, but they are engaging in an illegal act and violating DOT regulations.
Why Truckers Forge Logbooks
While truck drivers might falsify their logbooks for a variety of reasons, some are more common than others and often have to do with money. A trucker might also forge their logged hours for any of the following reasons:
- A trucker may not be paid for unloading or loading time, because these hours can count towards their driving limits and impact their earnings
- Drivers are typically paid by the mile—this means the more they drive, the more they can earn
- There is a charge for insurance premiums and drivers are often responsible for making payments on their own trucks—if they do not have any work, they may not be able to make these payments
Connecting Logged Driving Hours to a Truck Accident Claim
As previously mentioned, there is often a strong correlation between a truck crash in Michigan and a later-discovered logbook that has been falsified. Because truckers often forge logbooks to continue driving, fatigue often becomes a serious problem. By being deprived of sleep, a person will be less alert, have slower reflexes, and even hallucinate while driving. Furthermore, an exhausted truck driver might fall asleep behind the wheel, virtually guaranteeing an accident will occur.
Because of this, an experienced attorney could work with an injured motorist to study the logbooks of the truck driver involved in a crash and see if hours have been forged. If so, this might be clear legal grounds for determining the fault of the crash rests with the trucker.
How an Attorney Might Help to Assess a Michigan Truck Accident Case Involving Falsified Logbooks
When truckers disregard DOT rules and federal regulations, they should be held liable for any crash that happens as a result. If you were injured in a collision with a negligent truck driver, you might benefit from reaching out to a lawyer to discuss how Michigan truck accidents and falsified logbooks are connected and how to proceed during a claim. Call a knowledgeable attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. to discuss your legal options further.
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