Many safety coalitions, organizations, families of victims, and even employers are pushing for more electronic on-board recorders, or “EOBRs,” in commercial trucks and other vehicles. Over the last 20 years, several organizations have submitted special petitions to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), requesting that EOBRs be mandated in trucks. Independent organizations claim that the EOBRs can help prevent logbook falsification, truck driver fatigue, and even accidents caused by negligence. However, the DOT has denied their petitions.
With more EOBRs on 18 wheelers, an employer and investigator would be able to come to decisions regarding the cause of an accident, and possibly use this information to work harder to prevent future occurrences. By holding truck drivers and the companies that hire them accountable, the trucking industry will have more incentive to improve safety standards and rule adherence in their day-to-day operations. Despite the fact that safety groups continue to push for mandatory installation of these recording devices, widespread change have yet to occur.
How Many Trucks Have Installed Electronic On-Board Recorders?
Currently, around 45% of all commercial trucks are installed with electronic on-board recorders. With these devices in place, truck drivers are unable to forge their logbooks and will be forced to stop driving after certain hours of operation, in accordance with federal trucking regulations.
This is important because the reality is that, while the laws are very strict and clear regarding hours of service, many truck drivers operate their vehicle past the legal time limit. Not only is this extremely dangerous for the individual behind the wheel, but a catastrophic accident can lead to serious injuries or wrongful death.
Safety & the Problem of Forged Logbooks
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an arm of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). This agency’s full job is to ensure that the trucking industry is regulated in order to prevent avoidable traffic accidents involving large commercial vehicles.
In order to accomplish this goal, the FMCSA utilizes multiple methods, including regulation. Under FMCSA regulation, truck drivers are required to limit the amount of time they spend behind the wheel in order to prevent fatigued driving. Federal laws also require the drivers of large commercial vehicles to keep detailed and accurate logbooks that reflect their hours spent on the road and hours spent at rest.
Unfortunately, many drivers find ways around these laws by forging their logbooks. It is not an uncommon practice for truck drivers to keep two separate logbooks. One records the accurate hours spend on the road and on break; the other is forged to reflect adherence to federal law when this is not, in fact, true of the driver’s practices.
Electric on-board recording devices would render this kind of deception impossible and would force drivers of large commercial rigs to adhere to hours of operation rules that protect their safety as well as the safety of others.
Call Arnold & Itkin LLP to Discuss Your Case.
After being involved in a serious trucking accident caused by the negligence of a truck driver, do not wait to talk to a truck accident attorney from Arnold & Itkin LLP. Our legal team can review your case at your free consultation and help you understand the rights you have following a serious truck accident.
To learn more about what to do after being hit by a commercial truck, contact our Houston office today.