Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) October 8, 2013 – According to a report, the truck driver who crashed into an Illinois state trooper’s car in March had worked longer than the maximum number of hours permitted in a shift.
A federal investigation revealed that the truck driver who fell asleep behind the wheel, crashing into Trooper James Sauter’s vehicle on I-294 in March, had been working for over 18 hours. Sauter was killed in the crash.
“Many collisions involving trucks are caused by driver fatigue,” said Robert Briskman, a truck accident attorney. “Unfortunately, accidents involving trucks are more likely to be fatal.”
The truck driver and the company he worked for at the time of the crash both received fines from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The driver was fined $2,500, the maximum for the offense, and the company was fined $5,500. Although the company could have received a higher fine, it did not because the offense was the driver’s first since he received his commercial driver’s license and was hired in 2012.
To comply with federal regulations in place at the time, drivers have to rest for 10 hours after driving for 14 hours, but GPS logs from the driver’s truck showed that he had driven for several hours past that limit before the crash.
An investigation by Illinois State Police is ongoing. So far the driver has not been charged with a crime. Reports differ about whether Sauter’s vehicle was on the shoulder of I-294 at the time of the crash, or was pulling back onto the roadway.
The federal investigation found that the driver was driving from 6:31 a.m. to 6:32 p.m., again from 7:14 p.m. to 7:34 p.m., and again from 8:49 p.m. until the crash at 11:03 p.m. At the time of the crash, the driver had been on the road more than 14 hours and had been on duty more than 18 hours.
New hours-of-service regulations went into effect on July 1. Truck drivers now cannot work more than 8 hours without taking a half-hour break. Drivers who work the maximum 70 hours per week must take at least two rests between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. After the 70-hour maximum is reached, drivers must take a 34-hour break to restart a new work week.
Briskman Briskman & Greenberg
351 West Hubbard Street, Ste 810
Chicago, IL 60654
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