The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced a new rule regarding the way that commercial truck and bus drivers in California and around the country will have to log their hours. It is estimated that 3 million such drivers will now have to log their hours spent driving through electronic means. Safety advocates have consistently complained that current paper methods of logging are too easy for truck drivers to alter, creating separate sets of records to avoid following hour restrictions.
Drivers who own their own truck or a fleet of trucks have argued that the new law will make it more difficult for them to take rests when needed. Their argument is that the companies that hire them will have access to the electronic safety logs and put pressure on the drivers to stay on the road for longer than it is safe to do so. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed a lawsuit against the FMCSA in an effort to block the rule on the grounds that the logging devices are unproven technology.
According to the agency, the new rule will result in savings of $1 billion each year, largely on paperwork costs. It also estimated that the devices will prevent 562 injuries every year and save 26 lives annually. Tow truck drivers and drivers who use time cards to record their hours are exempt from the new rule, which will go into effect in February 2016.
Truck accidents can lead to serious and catastrophic injuries to others who are on the road at the time and who are involved in the collision. If it can be determined that a truck driver acted negligently by driving for too long, resulting in driver fatigue, a personal injury attorney might assist an injured victim in seeking compensation from the driver and, if applicable, the trucking company itself, for medical expenses and other losses.