Godwin, Morris, Laurenzi & Bloomfield, P.C.

Proposed device could prevent truck accidents

While it can take months or even years for a new commercial vehicle regulation to become final, supporters of an electronic device that monitors driver hours in semis and buses hope it won't take long. The proposed regulation would require commercial vehicle operators, including those from Tennessee, who drive across state lines to have this electronic device keep track of the number of hours the truck, bus or other vehicle is moving.

The goal of this proposal is to decrease the number of drivers of commercial vehicles who exceed the regulations on driving limits, thereby reducing the chance of truck accidents due to operators who are driving while fatigued. Many of the larger trucking companies already use this type of electronic device. It keeps drivers from falsifying their driving hours in their logbooks. Commercial vehicle drivers are required to use these devices in many countries, including across Europe.

Opponents of the device are generally smaller trucking companies. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says that these devices "are used to harass and coerce truck drivers into continuing to drive regardless of driving conditions. The American Trucking Association backs the proposal, though, saying it's "a way to improve safety and compliance in the trucking industry."

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says the new proposal could reduce the number of crashes on U.S. roadways. It estimates that 434 injuries and 20 deaths could be prevented each year.

Those who have been injured in a accident by a fatigued or distracted driver have a right to seek compensation for such claims as pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. An experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney can provide more information on how to pursue such compensation through the civil court system.

Source: WBTV Television, "Devices to track truck, bus driver hours proposed" Joan Lowy, Associated Press, Mar. 13, 2014

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