Driver fatigue is a major problem within the commercial transportation industry. Across the United States, drivers who are paid by the mile - not by the hour - feel the financial pressure to fit as many miles as possible into a work day. In some particularly egregious cases, employers even encourage their drivers to engage in such behavior. Truck drivers who are not alert put all road users at risk of injury, or even death. Contact a Tri-state area truck accident attorney as soon as possible after any truck accident. He or she will help victims protect their legal rights.
The Ongoing Fight Over Trucking Regulations
The unfortunate reality is that there is vigorous opposition to regulations which reduce trucker fatigue and improve road safety. The Journal of Commerce reports that small businesses and truck owners and operators are continuing to protest the new requirement for electronic mileage logs. As of December 18, 2017, more than three million truck drivers are now required to replace the paper logs which have been used since "hours of service" requirements were introduced in the 1930s. Small business owners and owners of small fleets worry about the costs of the electronic logging mandate. Truck drivers, meanwhile, oppose what they view as an invasion of privacy. Opponents have protested the requirement since it was first introduced by a Republican Congress in 2012. Since then, it has been signed into law by then-President Barack Obama, lost an appeal in the Seventh Circuit, and been denied hearing at the United States Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, falsifying paper log books is a very real problem with very real consequences for drivers in the tri-state area. In Jackson County, West Virginia, a pickup driver was killed after his truck became stuck in the back axle of a tractor trailer. The big rig driver continued down the road for almost two miles before stopping. The News Center reports that the tractor trailer driver was later charged with giving false information to the police, obstructing an officer, leaving the scene of an accident causing death, and falsifying his log book.
In Pennsylvania, a driver was convicted of falsifying his log books after an investigation related to a fatal truck accident he caused. According to NBC Philadelphia, the driver falsified his daily log books 15 times between December 20, 2008 and January 23, 2009. He also made false statements to investigators about his whereabouts prior to causing a multi-vehicle crash on the Schuylkill Expressway. The driver of one involved vehicle was killed, and the passenger of the same vehicle was seriously injured. Multiple other vehicles were involved in the collision.
Regardless of a truck driver’s personal feelings about federal regulations, they remain the law. When truck accidents are caused by a failure to adhere to hours of service requirements, truck drivers may be found negligent by an insurance company or jury. Injury victims in the West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania area have the legal right to hold truck drivers and transportation companies accountable for their dangerous actions. A truck accident attorney can help victims understand and assert these rights.