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Electronic Logbooks Proposed to Make It Easier to Detect Fatigued Drivers and Prevent Truck Crashes

Kentucky Truck Accident Lawyer

Some of the most deadly accidents on the roads today involve large trucks and buses. Although there are many reasons why truck accidents occur, truck driver fatigue is a rapidly growing concern among transportation officials. Now, a proposal by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration could reduce the number of fatigue-related accidents by making it more difficult for drivers to falsify their mandatory logbooks.

Commercial truck and bus drivers are required to keep a record of their shifts to ensure they comply with hours-of-service regulations that limit the amount of time they can stay behind the wheel before taking a rest. These rules are intended to preserve the safety of the driver and the driving public, but unfortunately those mandates are not always followed.

Truck drivers are often pressured by their employers to meet their deadlines, which could lead them to stay on the road longer than they should. To make matters worse, drivers have been known to falsify their logbooks to make it look like they complied with the regulations. Even worse, it sometimes turns out that their employers encouraged them to do it.

The FMCSA proposal aims to make it harder for drivers to get away with falsification by implementing the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to record their hours. It is not necessarily difficult to detect falsified records, which usually happens by comparing whether the timestamps recorded on drivers’ receipts match up with the hours recorded in their logs. But with electronic recordkeeping, the time will be recorded and not easily modified.

FMCSA estimates ELDs could prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year.

Truck Driver Fatigue Can Kill    

According to FMCSA, impaired driving – including drowsy driving – was a contributing factor in more than 12 percent of the 129,120 total crashes involving large trucks and buses in 2012.  Just like it is important for the everyday driver to get adequate amounts of sleep before driving, the same holds true for truck and bus drivers. In fact, some may argue it’s even more important for operators of such large vehicles to get sleep because their job requires them to be on the road for long stretches of time.

Regardless of your career, every motorist should assess their own level of fatigue before driving. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid drinks and medications that could cause drowsiness, including both over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
  • Look out for the physical signs of fatigue, such as blurry vision, poor levels of alertness, difficulty remembering the last few miles on the road or heavy eyelids.
  • Take several breaks, especially when you are on long trips.
  • Don’t rely on caffeine, music or other passengers to keep you awake. They will not prevent you from falling asleep in the long term.
  •  Stop immediately if you notice you are drifting out of lanes while driving, driving too fast or too slowly, tailgating or seem to be reacting inappropriately to the conditions of the road.

When Should You Talk To A Truck Accident Lawyer?

Cases involving commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers and motor coaches are typically more complex than other vehicle crashes. The trucking industry is governed by both state and federal regulations, and it can take a significant amount of investigation to determine if violations occurred and most importantly, whether those violations contributed to the accident.

There may also be number of parties who could be held liable for the wreck, not just the truck driver and his or her employer. But it takes someone with legal expertise to ferret out who exactly may be negligent when it comes to your accident. It certainly could be more than one.

For people who have been injured in a truck accident, or who have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, the smartest thing to do is to seek out a consultation with a qualified personal injury or wrongful death attorney. The vast majority of personal injury lawyers offer their first consultations for free, and it’s always better to ask questions first and then determine whether to take legal action.