Electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) are devices that are attached to the inside of most commercial motor vehicles. These devices electronically record important information such as hours of vehicle operation. While many truck drivers are required only to use written log books to record driving and resting hours, a 2011 proposal by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) suggested requiring all interstate commercial truck and bus companies to use these devices. According to FMCSA, this would requirement would affect somewhere near 500,000 United States carriers. So far, there is no industry-wide ruling requiring the use of electronic on-board recorders for all interstate commercial truck and bus companies, but there are some provisions for those companies with a history of poor compliance.
Hours of Service (HOS) compliance is extremely important for commercial carriers, since a lack of compliance means fines and penalties imposed by federal agencies. Despite the importance of Hours of Service compliance, it is somewhat difficult for a company or a driver to prove this compliance. Drivers and their employers must keep detailed written log books, collect HOS supporting documents, and present delivery and toll receipts at regular intervals.
According to the FMCSA,
The proposed rule would also relieve interstate motor carriers from retaining certain HOS supporting documents, such as delivery and toll receipts, which are currently used to verify the total number of hours drivers spend operating the vehicle.
Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood stated in the EOBR proposal that this regulation would promote adherence to Hours of Service rules and thereby keep the nation’s roadways safe and protected. With a device constantly keeping track of factual operation evidence, there is little freedom to exceed hour limits without the risk of penalty.
Truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) accidents in the United States. There is immense pressure in the CMV industry for drivers to get their cargo to its destination on time. Therefore, anything that has the potential to slow a driver down is avoided. Unfortunately, resting breaks are a necessary pause to the CMV driver’s schedule. One statistic suggests that on average 750 people are killed and more than 20,000 are injured annually due to a truck driver that fell asleep at the wheel.
Drivers of passenger vehicles typically have a fear of sharing the road with large commercial trucks. According to a study (Lou Harris Poll), 81 percent of drivers believe that sleep-deprived truckers are a serious threat to safety. Thankfully, 2012 amendments to the Hours of Service regulations limited the amount of time that a trucker can be on duty and also increased the amount and length of trucker resting breaks. For more on the changes to the Hours of Service regulations, visit the FMCSA website.
If you or someone you love was injured in an accident, and that accident was caused by a fatigued truck driver, then you have likely already been speaking with your insurance agency as well as adjusters and possibly even investigators that were charged with finding the exact cause of the accident. In an accident as serious as this, it would immensely benefit you to speak with an attorney from our firm. Our Charleston personal injury attorneys are available to assist anyone throughout the state of West Virginia that has become the victim of truck driver and trucking company negligence. To learn if you qualify for representation, take the first step and contact our firm today. Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC is here to fight for your rights!