Proposed regulation on truckers seeks to reduce car accidents

Drowsy driving is a significant danger on the roads today. These dangers are especially prominent among bus and truck drivers, who often attempt to drive long hours in an attempt to meet schedules or earn higher wages.

This behavior puts all motorists at risk. When a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel, or otherwise suffers from depressed reflexes, he or she can easily cause a truck accident. These accidents are incredibly hazardous; heavy and slow to stop, trucks cause some of the most devastating injuries on the road. Many victims of truck accidents file personal injury lawsuits against the driver who caused their injury in an attempt to seek compensation for their medical bills, disability, mental distress and lost wages.

Lawmakers are apparently attempting to limit these dangers by proposing new regulations to put a stop to drowsy driving. Under a recent government proposal, any trucks or buses that cross state lines would be required to use an electronic device that would log their driving hours. Regulators could access the logs to determine whether the driver was taking his or her mandatory rest breaks.

Currently, truck drivers are required to keep logbooks of the time they spend driving, but these pen-and-paper systems are easily circumvented. Entering false times is a simple matter; the ease with which forged entries can be made has given the paper logbooks the nickname "comic books."

Electronic activity trackers, however, are not easy to fool. The trackers would always determine the status of the vehicle, ensuring that the driver is pausing for sleep and not overextending him- or herself.

Though a coalition of owner-operators opposes the proposed rule, the regulation has been welcomed by many larger trucking companies. In fact, many use the technology in their fleets already.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the electronic devices could be expected to save 20 lives per year and prevent 434 injuries if the new regulations were enacted.

Source:  WFMJ-TV, "Devices to track truck, bus driver hours proposed" Joan Lowy, Mar. 13, 2014

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