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New FMCSA rule requires electronic tracking of driver hours

South Carolina residents are protected from drowsy driving accidents involving large commercial vehicles by federal regulations that limit the amount of time that bus and truck drivers may spend behind the wheel. Driver hours are generally recorded on paper logs, but a rule introduced in December 2015 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will require sophisticated electronic vehicle tracking devices to be fitted to trucks and buses within two years.

The use of paper logs to track driver hours has been criticized by safety advocates and accident investigators. They say that these logs often fail to accurately reflect the hours a driver has worked and are sometimes manipulated following a crash to hide evidence that the driver involved was fatigued. The electronic devices mandated by the FMCSA will be far more difficult to tamper with, and they will determine the hours a driver has spent behind the wheel without taking a break by analyzing data such as the length of time the engine was in use and the amount of distance traveled.

The FMCSA says that the new rule could save as much as $1 billion in paperwork reductions and other costs and prevent 26 deaths each year, but many truck drivers and trucking companies oppose it. They complain that the devices will be costly to install, and they say that customers with access to the information they record could ignore safety concerns and apply pressure to keep trucks running.

Personal injury attorneys may pursue civil remedies on behalf of those who have been harmed by the negligent actions of others. The damages awarded in accidents caused by truck driver fatigue can be significant, and establishing that federal regulations concerning the hours worked by commercial vehicle drivers have been violated could be an important part in establishing liability.

Philpot Law Firm, PA
115 Broadus Ave.
Greenville, SC 29601

Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Toll Free: 866-853-3497
Phone: 864-990-0226
Phone: 864-990-0226
Fax: 864-242-1566
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