Although there are federal mandates to limit the number of hours truck drivers are permitted to work on a daily and also a weekly basis, fatigued driving continues to be a major problem among truck drivers and a principal cause of truck accidents. According to the website saferoads.org, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that more than 750 people die and 20,000 more are injured each year due directly to fatigued commercial vehicle drivers.
Commercial drivers are currently required to track their hours of driving in logbooks, which they keep in their trucks and hand in to employers. However, many drivers violate the hours of service rules for driving, and even report incorrect hours in their driver logbooks. As a result, and in an effort to enhance safety, the FMCSA is proposing a change to its rules concerning trucker logs. The new rule would require commercial truck and bus companies to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in their vehicles to improve compliance with the safety rules that govern the number of hours a driver can work.
FMCSA regulations allow a trucker to work a total of 14 hours per day and drive no more than 11 hours. The regulations also mandate a minimum of 10 hours off duty between shifts. The primary goal of this proposed rule would be better compliance with the existing rules that limit a truck driver’s hours of service. The proposed rule is expected to reduce hours of service violations among truck drivers by limiting the ease with which they can control the times they are manually putting in their logbooks. It is also expected to significantly reduce the paperwork burden associated with hours-of-service recordkeeping for interstate truck and bus drivers, and improve the quality of the logbook data.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement that “by leveraging innovative technology with Electronic Logging Devices, we have the opportunity to save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and safety inspectors.”
Driver fatigue recently played a part in a fatal truck accident on the New Jersey turnpike, which also left comedian Tracy Morgan seriously injured. Morgan and the other victims allege that driver fatigue on the part of a Walmart truck driver played an integral role in the accident.
The new ELDs will make it more difficult for drivers to misrepresent their time on logbooks and avoid detection by FMCSA and law enforcement. According to data from the FMCSA, it will also help reduce crashes by fatigued drivers and prevent many fatalities and hundreds of injures each year for an annual safety benefit of hundreds of millions of dollars. According to the FMCSA, impaired driving, including fatigue was listed as a factor in more than 12 percent of the 129,120 total crashes that involved large trucks and buses in 2-12.
Munley law is the premier Pennsylvania personal injury firm handling truck accident cases in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Dan Munley and the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law have represented hundreds of victims of trucking accidents and are dedicated to aggressively pursing the justice their clients deserve. If you have been injured in a truck accident, visit www.munley.com to see how we can help.