Federal Legislature Considering Law Requiring Electronic Truck Logs

Our Panama City truck accident law firm regularly follows legal developments impacting the trucking industry, including court rulings and legislative measures. WJGH recently reported on the debate surrounding a truck-related federal proposal currently being considered by the United States Congress. The proposal is an attempt to enhance safety and avoid truck accidents in Panama City and across our nation, but trucking industry personnel have spoken out against passage of the measure. Congress is considering the 2012 Surface Transportation Extension Act.

One element of the proposed bill would mandate that all truck drivers install an Electronic On-Board Recorder ("EOBR") system. The automatic logging system would eliminate the use of paper logs to document big rig routes and times. Currently, Congress is trying to reconcile versions of the overall bill that the House and Senate have sent to a conference committee. There are voices expressing opinions both in support and in opposition to the EOBR proposal.

One truck driver noted that he has driven for 15 years and has had an EOBR installed in his truck for the past year. He reported being uncomfortable with the device initially, but he said that he has gotten used to it and now prefers it to paper logs. The driver noted the automated logs prevent drivers from cheating and fudging their records. In addition to the increased accountability, the driver noted that the EOBR reduced paperwork and increased safety because it limited the ability of employers and clients to request that he drive more than the law allows. However, other drivers have come out in opposition to the EOBR mandate.

One driver suggested that individual drivers might be responsible for purchasing an EOBR, an additional cost that the driver felt was unnecessary. Beyond their use in documenting routes for an employer, our Panama City truck accident lawyer knows that EOBRs can be a valuable source of evidence after a truck accident. EOBRs can record the time of the accident and the truck's speed prior to the collision. The EOBR can also provide information about how long the driver had been behind the wheel at the time of the accident, evidence that can help prove fault in actions against both the driver and the driver's employer.

Driver fatigue is dangerous in any vehicle, but it is particularly hazardous when the driver is piloting a large truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict rules limiting how long truck operators can drive and how much rest time is required between driving periods. Truck drivers who fail to take mandated breaks are more likely to be involved in serious crashes.

Studies from the National Transportation Safety Board have found that more than half of all truck accidents involve driver fatigue. After 8 hours of driving, the risk of a truck being involved in an accident doubles, and the rate doubles again between 10 and 11 hours of continuous operation. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Panama City truck crash, please contact The Pittman Firm. Our attorney and legal support team can use EOBR logs and other evidence to help you receive compensation for your accident-related injuries.

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