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What are HOS regulations and how do they protect motorists?

Imagine you are driving down I-75 late one evening after work. You've had a long day and you just want to get home, put up your feet and relax. As you drive, you notice the enormous semi-truck you are approaching is drifting in and out of its lane. As you pass it, the truck swerves one final time, crashes into your car. In the blink of an eye, your evening plans -- and your life -- can be destroyed.

This type of incident is tragically not uncommon; accidents with enormous tractor trailers happen all across Florida. In many cases, crashes like the one we described above happen because of trucker fatigue. 

Truckers spend long stretches of time on the road and their job is to make good time and get cargo where it needs to go. Some truckers will take some dangerous measures in order to meet these goals, one of which is to go without adequate sleep and rest breaks.

In an effort to combat this risky behavior, federal regulators established the Hours of Service regulations with which commercial vehicle operators must comply. These rules place strict limits on when drivers can and cannot be working or behind the wheel. They lay down rules for how many hours a trucker can drive before being required to stop, the number of hours a person must be off duty between shifts and how long truckers must spend resting in the sleeper berth.

These rules are aimed at preventing fatigue and drowsiness by forcing drivers to take breaks. 

Sadly, some drivers still violate these regulations. They drive longer than they should or falsify log books to make it look like they have rested when they haven't. These are reckless, unsafe decisions that can lead to catastrophic collisions.

If you think a drowsy or sleeping truck driver caused or contributed to an accident in which you or a loved one was hurt, you may have grounds to file a legal claim against that party and/or the trucking company. While a lawsuit won't be able to undo the damage you have suffered, it can help you collect the compensation you need and deserve to rebuild your life.

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