Liability in Trucking Accidents Lower Thanks to New Law

Liability in Trucking Accidents Lower Thanks to New Law

By Krista Sherinian

As an experienced car accident lawyer Chicago IL drivers can rely on can attest, to reduce driver fatigue and trucking accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made it a law that trucking companies and owner/drivers currently using paper logs will have until December 2019 to install Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in their vehicles. Logs will record driving and rest times required for truck drivers without allowing any possible driver alterations.

In the past drivers would often forge these logs to work extra runs. Federal regulators claim that paper logs are often altered after an accident to cover up a truck driver’s violation of mandated federal safety rules for driving schedules. Truck drivers have kept paper logs since the 1930s, but regulators argue that up to 20 percent of drivers falsify paper logs to record additional hours that provide extra pay.

In 2017, state law enforcement officers put more than 30,000 truck drivers out of service for falsifying their logs. The FMCSA says this is the highest number yet, and numbers only reflect drivers who were actually caught.

In December 2015, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a legal petition opposing the ELD mandate in a federal court of appeals. Jim Johnston, president and CEO of OOIDA, said, “This regulation is absolutely the most outrageous intrusion into the rights of professional truckers imaginable and will do nothing at all to improve highway safety.” However the legal challenge from OOIDA failed last year, so trucking fleets have until April 2018 to start using ELDs in their cabs. That is when the Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration says it will start enforcing the ELD mandate.

The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian would like to know if you or a loved one were involved in an accident. Call us at (630) 318-2606, we can provide expert advice.

Many truckers are unhappy with new electronic logging devices. Truck drivers are not paid by the hour, they are paid to deliver cargo on time. Drivers are afraid that they will be forced to pull over for a 10-hour rest break in the middle of an important run which may impact their paycheck.

Federal regulators and the trucking industry have argued in favor of electronic logging devices in commercial trucks for many years, stating that electronic logs would automatically track a truck’s movements without the driver’s ability to alter log entries. Safety officials state that electronic logs will keep truck drivers honest about driving times, rest times, and trip details and ensure compliance with federal trucking regulations. They also hope to prevent false accident and injury claims seen by a truck accident lawyer.

Although large, commercial trucks are involved in fewer collisions per mile than passenger vehicles, they account for one in eight of all fatal motor vehicle accidents on U.S. roads and highways. Passenger vehicles are especially vulnerable to large trucks with dangerous blind spots, greater ground clearance, and weight that’s often 30 times more than passenger vehicles. Over 50 percent of fatal collisions occur on roads other than major freeways and interstates. Because of this factor, it is key to find ways to make our highways more safe. Reducing trucker fatigue is an important one.

In the future autonomous driving trucks will also help reduce fatigue. New regulations will prevent drivers from having to work more than 70 hours per week. Although it’s difficult to prove that driver fatigue is responsible for a trucking accident, it’s suspected that fatigue plays a major role in at least 50 percent of reported truck-involved collisions. Safety officials are hopeful that new electronic logging devices will significantly reduce truck driver fatigue and related trucking accidents around the country.

If you or a loved one have been harmed in an accident, call our expert liability attorneys today at Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian at (630) 318-2606.

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