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FMCSA Proposes Shift to Electronic Logbooks to Reduce the Number of Fatigue-Related Trucking Accidents

Truck driver fatigue is widely acknowledged as one of the most significant factors in fatal tractor-trailer crashes. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has promulgated daily and weekly limits on the number of hours that commercial drivers can operate a large truck to reduce the role of fatigue in causing collisions, these rules are widely disregarded. Current hours of service rules limit commercial drivers from operating a tractor-trailer for more than 11 hours per day and mandate a 34 hour rest break after 60 hours of driving in a week.

Truck drivers are an essential part of the American economy. Our Miami truck accident lawyers know that most trucking companies and their drivers are honest, hard working folks. They are unfortunately judged by those in the trucking industry who “cut corners” and violate FMCSA rules and regulations. Truck drivers generally earn more pay by driving longer shifts, so there are a number of drivers who often violate hours of service rules with the express or implied approval of the trucking company. It is important to remember that dispatchers are aware of where drivers are, how long they have been driving and if they are “over hours. Although federal regulations that require driver’s to maintain a log that tracks hours of service should prevent this practice, these logs are routinely manipulated or falsified. The FMCSA is considering a proposal that could make driver logbooks more accurate and make it easier to expose fraud.

Electronic Logbooks Could Reduce Hours of Service Violations and Make Roads Safer

A new regulation proposed by the FMCSA that would require truck drivers to use electronic logbooks installed in semi-trucks could prevent abuse and make the roads safer. Commercial truck drivers are required to keep track of their hours behind the wheel in their driver logbook and to provide these records to their employer. Because these logbooks are fairly easily to alter or falsify, the new regulations have been promoted by trucking accident safety advocates and industry watchdogs that recognize the danger posed by an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer driven by a sleepy driver.

The new regulations would require that commercial carriers use electronic logging devices (ELDs) in their semi-trucks. The proposed electronic recordkeeping system would increase compliance with hours of service rules and limit the ability of drivers to falsify or alter the logs. The FMCSA also indicates the new electronic logs would reduce the amount of paperwork that must be handled by driver and improve the quality of logbook data. The FMCSA has estimated that the shift to electronic logbooks could prevent twenty deaths and 434 injuries per year.

The new rule, which has been submitted for public comment, could constitute a huge step forward in terms of preventing trucking accidents especially those caused by drivers who are too fatigued to maintain a high level of alertness, such as in rear-end trucking accidents or sudden lane change crashes.. When the operator of a large tractor-trailer closes his or her eyes even for a moment, the length and weight of a tractor trailer can make it difficult to recover before being involved in a devastating collision.

If the regulation becomes effective it also could ease the burden on those seeking compensation for injuries incurred in trucking accidents. Written driver logbooks kept by commercial drivers are generally unreliable records. Trucking accident attorneys and trucking crash experts often must comb though other evidence or documents like fuel receipts or black box data to expose manipulated logbooks entries. Because electronic logbooks would be much less vulnerable to manipulation, the process of proving driver fatigue in trucking accidents could become much easier.

All Americans should contact their elected representatives and let them know that they are in favor of the proposed change requiring electronic log books. Doing so will save lives.

Diligently Analyzing Evidence to Expose Truck Driver Fatigue

Our Miami tractor-trailer accident lawyers have handled an array of Florida trucking accidents that result in death and serious injury. We have recovered from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for these claims. If you or a loved one was injured in a rear-end collision involving a large truck or another type of big-rig crash, we invite you to contact the South Florida law office of Greenberg Stone and Urbano today. For over 120 collective years, we have aggressively represented the victims of motor vehicle accidents across South Florida. Our commitment to excellence in providing legal services has earned us an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell, and it is why we have been asked to join Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Moreover, the Miami Herald voted us as one of the top-rated South Florida law firms, and, we have earned the title of “Superlawyers,” designating us as being among the best lawyers in America. We want to put this dedication to work for you, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation either in our main office, your home or hospital, or at one of the offices were we see client’s by appointment.

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