Last year, some major changes were made to the laws which apply to truck drivers. The rules are often referred to as hours of service regulations, because they establish limits for the number of hours that truck drivers can work. The rules limit truckers to truck to seventy hours of work each work week. There are also daily hours of service restrictions, which state that a driver can only be on the road for eleven hours a day. Lawmakers changed the hours of service regulations in an attempt to decrease the amount of tractor trailer accidents which are caused by tired truck drivers.
When the lawmakers changed the hours of service regulations, they realized that not all truck drivers would abide by the rule changes. As a result, the changes to the regulations include enforcement provisions with penalties for both drivers and their employers. The new penalty structure is designed to counteract an inherent problem within the trucking industry, which has a long history of structuring pay in a way that rewards drivers for pushing themselves to work long hours and drive fast.
Unfortunately, despite the stiff penalties that are contained in the new hours of service regulations for truckers who violate the rules and their employers, many truck drivers continue to work longer hours than they should. Some drivers even fail to make entries in their duty log books regarding when they start and stop driving, or they make false entries to make it appear as though they worked less than they actually did. Some drivers occasionally fail to keep records or falsify their time records, and some do it on a regular basis.
Some truckers who have been caught falsifying their logbooks have stated that they are still being pressured or coerced into doing so by their employers, despite the risk of high fines and penalties for being caught. Accidents involving drowsy truck drivers still occur frequently, and this, taken along with numerous reports of drivers falsifying logbooks indicates that last year’s changes to the hours of service regulations have not produced the desired results.
Since regulations alone have failed to bring about the necessary changes in driver behavior that it was hoped that they would, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing a rule which would require all trucks to be equipped with electronic logging devices. Electronic logging devices are connected to the engine, and to the truck itself. A rule requiring electronic logs would make it much more difficult for drivers to keep inaccurate records of their working hours, as electronic logs are not as easy to falsify as paper logs are.
If you have been involved in any type of trucking accident, it is essential that you contact one of our trucking accident attorneys right away. Call Parker Waichman LLP at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for your free case review.
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