Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

When should a tractor-trailer, big rig, or 18-wheeler truck driver have to stop driving due to fatigue?

49 CFR 392.3 discusses an ill or fatigued operator of a large tractor-trailer or commercial motor vehicle and requires that no driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle and the motor carrier hiring that driver shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness or any other cause as to make it unsafe for him or her to begin or continue to operate a commercial motor vehicle. This seems like a simple rule. The truth of the matter is that this rule is violated every single day on every highway across the United States by truck drivers who are being pushed to deliver an on-time load. The truck driver will be fired, suspended or terminated or have a loss of pay if they do not deliver the load and cargo on-time. This rather well known protocol of the trucking industry is the main reason that people are injured and die from negligent, careless, wanton and reckless truck drivers and commercial motor carriers.

When a trucking company dispatches a driver and gives that driver a specific moment in time when the load must be delivered on-time, it leads to the drivers, regardless of illness or fatigue, being pushed to the limits of human endurance in order to make the on-time delivery. This rather unfair requirement of the motor carrier industry is a hush hush reality of today and of the problems associated with commercial motor vehicle drivers. Safety systems like the Smith system and the JJ Keller and Company defensive driving and safety programs are taught to some truck drivers, but not all. When the truck drivers do not get sufficient orientation and training about safe operation of commercial motor vehicles, accidents happen and people die. When this occurs, it means that some small or large commercial motor carrier wants to make a profit by not spending money on these safety programs, orientation and classrooms, employee monitoring and training and these companies turn a blind eye to safety and cause misery, death and despair.

Many truck drivers carry two sets of books to show whether or not they are over the hours-of-service limits set forth by the FMCSR. Once in a while we are lucky enough to actually have a Highway Patrol trooper take the actual logs into custody or take photographs of the actual logs so that the motor carrier cannot destroy logs before we get access to them. We send out spoliation letters on trucking cases because we know the truck drivers and the motor carriers that they work for will only maintain certain items of evidence for a limited period of time. In fact, motor carriers have programs which causes logs to be scanned into a computer program that automatically destroys the actual driver’s logs at 6 months from the date of the accident even though this violates the FMCSR. They destroy the originals and 6 months from the day of the accident the evidence disappears.

These safety principles that are discussed in this discussion can apply to taxicabs, limousines, fleet vehicles such as Pizza Hut delivery vehicles, Papa John delivery vehicles, Uber and Lyft drivers, and any other business or industry that has one or more vehicles in a fleet conducting business in the furtherance of company business and seeking monetary revenue and profit.

Brad Pistotnik has been studying the law as it relates to fleet safety and the safety and authorization of motor carriers and businesses with fleets of vehicles for more than 35 years and has a vast library of books related to the trucking industry which tell managers how to interpret the FMCSRs, how to interpret the BASICs and how to hire, qualify, monitor, supervise, train, dispatch and otherwise oversee the actions and omissions of the drivers that they hire which are required to make on-time deliveries. This training and experience has allowed Brad to recover tens of millions of dollars for personal injury clients and wrongful death clients against trucking companies, truck drivers, fleet operators and other businesses operating a fleet of vehicles to conduct business. These cases are very unique and they are exquisitely difficult to litigate. In Kansas, there are only a few defense lawyers that are experienced enough to handle the lawsuits with their extensive petitions and complaints filed against truck drivers and commercial motor carriers, so we routinely see the same defense attorneys over and over due to the specialty that it takes to defend a case involving the FMCSR.

Brad Pistotnik, Tony Atterbury, Bill Barr, Jay Sizemore and Corey Sucher, are all lawyers who have been involved in handling tractor-trailer accidents, big rig accidents, large truck accidents and 18 wheeler accidents as well as fleet vehicles. Brad has mentored several of these lawyers to teach the lawyer how to properly write a complaint or petition to sue on a trucking case and how to take appropriate depositions of the drivers, safety directors, dispatch officers, operations managers, citations managers, log audit people and other employees who are very specific to the industry. Not all lawyers know how to handle these types of cases appropriately and these are not simple cases where you just sue over a simple negligence claim. We always add in negligent hiring claims, negligent qualification claims, negligent training claims, and negligent supervision claims and always claim that the doctrines of vicarious liability and respondeat superior apply so that the employer and commercial motor carrier becomes responsible vicariously for the actions and omissions of their driver.

Our lawyers are licensed in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Florida and do cases in other states through pro hac vice admissions. We have trucking experts and we have safety experts as well as accident reconstruction experts that are available at any given moment in time. In every single trucking case, it is imperative that you hire an experienced and qualified lawyer or attorney that has true experience in litigation and discovery issues related to tractor-trailer accidents. Some lawyers claim to have that experience and then refer them on to other law firms that have the experience. At Brad Pistotnik Law we actually have in-house experience and expertise to sue trucking companies, fleet carriers, commercial motor carriers and all businesses involved in transportation. Regardless of whether it is in interstate or intrastate commerce it is always best to have a lawyer or attorney who is a true truck accident lawyer and truck accident attorney.

We handle cases in multiple states and especially across the States of Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois, Texas and Florida. If you had a tractor-trailer accident or any type of commercial motor vehicle accident or car accident including motorcycle accidents, car accidents, motor scooter accidents, bicycle accidents with a car and other vehicular types of accidents, you should always call Brad Pistotnik Law. The first call is always free. We handle cases in Wichita, Kansas City, Olathe, Gardner, Shawnee, Topeka, Manhattan, Junction City, Wichita, El Dorado, Derby, Augusta, Fredonia, Fort Scott, Independence, Coffeyville, Pittsburg, Garden City, Liberal, Dodge City, Kingman, Pratt, Great Bend, Colby, Hays, Phillipsburg, Goodland, Beloit, Cuba, Hutchinson, Satanta, Kinsley, Bird City, Ness City, Scott City, and any other cities where our attorneys are licensed.

We are Brad Pistotnik Law. ® We are Abogado El Toro. ® Hire the real Brad. ® Call in the Bull. ® We are the Bull Attorneys! ™ Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. Our firm gives free legal consultations on weekends. We give emergency legal consultations on weekends, holidays and at night time. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL. Our main office location is at 10111 E. 21st St. N., Suite 204, Wichita Kansas 67206. Our Garden City office is at 3102 E. Kansas Avenue, Suite 100, Garden City, Kansas 67846. We always give free consultations and we answer the phone 24/7 and on weekends and holidays for free legal consultation.

Bradley A. Pistotnik © 2018.