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Truck driver fatigue and the hours of service rules, P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about the federal hours of service rules and their general purpose. As we noted, compliance with the rules has been a challenge over the years, because federal regulations have only required truckers to keep track of their hours via paper logs. The problem is that paper logs are too easily subject to tampering, allowing non-compliant truckers to get away with unsafe and illegal driving practices.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in an attempt to address this problem, is again proposing a requirement that truckers be required to install electronic logging devices. The devices, it is said, would make truckers less likely to attempt tampering, and would allow the agency to better enforce the rule. 

It isn’t the first time the proposal has been made, but what is different about it this time is that the agency has attempted to address certain concerns voiced by the trucking industry. Among them are that requiring electronic logging devices would make certain drivers subject to harassment from companies that would attempt to coerce these drivers to drive up to their full limit. The rule reportedly strictly prohibits harassment and provides procedural and technical safeguards to prevent it. As proposed, the rules would take effect in two years.

The agency says that the rule will result in an annual net benefit of over $1 billion and will help save 26 lives per year and prevent roughly 1,844 crashes. All of this is certainly promising. In a future post, we’ll look at the significance of non-compliance with federal hours of service rules as it can come into play in personal injury litigation.

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