The primary mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce injuries and deaths due to large truck crashes and bus crashes. One important way in which FMCSA pursues this goal is to regulate the number of hours that truck drivers can drive continuously a without rest. Obviously, fatigued driving is a major cause of tractor trailer truck accidents. FMCSA regulation (FMCSR) 49 CFR 395 regulates “Hours of Service of Drivers (HOS).” This regulation requires that every truck company require its truck drivers to record his/her duty status as “off duty,” “sleeper berth”, “driving,” or “on-duty not driving.” Drivers also must include in their driver logs, inter alia, the following: the date, total miles driven that day, truck and trailer number, name of carrier, a driver’s signature/certification, 24-hour period starting time, and total hours.
Pursuant to these HOS rules, a truck driver hauling freight may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty and may only be on duty for 14 consecutive hours. Truck drivers may also drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since the driver took a rest break of at least 30 minutes. Loaded tractor trailer trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. No one wants to have these massive trucks operated by a sleepy truck driver. That is why the FMCSA regulations are so important.
As reported by truckinginfo.com, two Virginia trucking companies and their executives have been charged with conspiracy, falsifying records, false statements, wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy related to hours of service of its drivers and labor violations. Beam Bros. Trucking, Inc., Beam Bros. Holding Corp, LLC and their CEO, president, vice president, CFO and operations manager were charged in a 126-count indictment in U.S. District Court, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Beam Bros. is one of the nation’s largest contract motor carriers of mail for the U.S. Postal Service, having been paid more than $500 million by the USPS over the past 10 years. Beam Bros., its holding company, and its executives are accused of violating HOS regulations and falsifying driver logs to hide these HOS violations.
These are serious allegations that affect the safety of the traveling public. It is important to note that Beam Bros. and its executives have pleaded not guilty and are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
The truck accident attorneys at Phelan Petty understand the FMCSA regulations and have experience handling complex tractor trailer truck accident claims. Please call or fill out our contact form for a free, confidential consultation.
Michael Phelan is a Virginia trial attorney who practices with a special focus on traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases, pharmaceutical and medical device claims, product liability cases, and truck accidents. Michael’s peers have consistently recognized him for his excellence as a trial lawyer, and his clients have praised him for his commitment to deep research, his outstanding communication skills, and his sincerity and dedication.