New Law for Electronically Recorded Hours May Eliminate Crashes Due to Truck and Bus Driver FatigueJanuary 4, 2016 | Category: Truck Accidents | Share
An estimated 3 million commercial truck and bus drivers are covered under a new government rule, announced December 10, 2015, requiring them to electronically record their driving hours. This new rule was adopted to enforce regulations to help prevent driver fatigue. This rule is now officially law according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 60 days it goes into effect, and companies will have two years after the 60 days to start using the electronic time recording devices.
It is estimated by the safety administration that about 26 lives will be saved and 562 injuries prevented each year by using the electronic time recording devices. There is also a provision of the rule which provides procedural and technical provisions to protect commercial truck and bus drivers from harassment as a result of the electronic time recording information.
Once this new government rule is fully implemented, truck and bus drivers will no longer be able to drive longer than their maximum mandated hours because they will not be able to falsify their paper log books.
The maximum workweek for truckers in 2015 was reduced from 82 hours to 70 hours. When a driver hit this limit, they had to stop driving and not resume until after a mandatory 34-hour resting period. Eleven hours is the maximum drivers may drive before they are required to have a 30-minute break.
These requirements were enacted to prevent truck/bus accidents because of driver fatigue. However, without electronic recording of the hours, there have been, and continue to be, drivers coerced into driving more than the maximum and falsifying driving records.
Being fatigued significantly increases the risk of a crash. Fatigue makes a driver less aware of what is happening on the road and impairs the ability to respond quickly and safely should a dangerous situation arise. Experts believe that driver fatigue contributes to more than 30% of road crashes.
Driver fatigue is believed to be the reason for the 2014 Walmart truck driver and limousine van accident in New Jersey which killed comedian James McNair and critically injured Tracy Morgan, a “30 Rock” star. Others were also injured when the truck rear-ended the van.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that new research on the subject of driver fatigue demonstrates that long work hours, without sufficient recovery time, lead to reduced sleep and chronic fatigue. The fatigue can cause drivers to have slower reaction times and reduced ability to assess situations in a quick manner. Fatigue can sneak up on a driver quickly. Further, the research revealed truck/bus drivers cannot often assess their own fatigue level accurately.
Why would a driver continue to drive fatigued?
The most common method of payment for truckers and bus drivers is “by the mile.” Since the rate of pay per hour has been kept stagnant for long-haul drivers, they feel the pressure to continue driving rather than stopping for rest. Added to this, these drivers are not paid for the time spent loading and unloading.
“There is no excuse for drivers to drive while fatigued. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck and/or bus accident, contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. We have the experience to handle truck and bus accidents,” said Fort Myers Truck/Bus Accident Attorney, Randall Spivey.
Fort Myers Truck-Bus Accident Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.