Truck drivers work long hours, often because their employers make unreasonable demands of them to meet tough deadlines. For years, federal law has regulated the number of hours that truckers can work, limiting how long they can work in a single day, how much they can work between breaks, and how much driving they can do between extended rest periods.
These laws are important because drowsy or fatigued driving poses real danger. Drivers who are tired can have slowed reaction times and impaired abilities just like a driver who has had a few drinks. Because tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 lbs., crashes involving them are often massive accidents resulting in serious injuries.
To ensure that drivers aren’t violating laws concerning work hours, drivers of 18-wheelers and certain other commercial vehicles are required to keep written logs of their hours on the road and their rest periods. Unfortunately, drivers have been known to alter these logs or keep false records.
To combat this problem, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration adopted a Final Rule in December that will require the use of electronic logging devices in most trucks and some buses within two years.
The devices, which will be used by approximately three million drivers, keep track of driving time, engine hours, location and miles driven to ensure that drivers comply with the law. Some trucking companies have already begun using the devices to keep better track of their fleets and to ensure compliance with the law.
The U.S. Department of Transportation expects that these changes will reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to fatigued driving. The department estimates that more than 1,800 accidents and more than 25 deaths should be eliminated each year under the new rule.
If you or a family member has been hurt in any type of accident involving a truck, speak to the experienced Bradenton truck accident attorneys at the firm of Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh to learn your rights.