Holding Truckers to a Higher Standard: How a New Law Will Make the Trucking Industry More Accountable

Truck drivers often have strict deadlines and schedules that cause them to push the limits of their endurance. Even when they’ve been behind the wheel for hours and need rest, they carry on, becoming so fatigued that they rely on energy drinks and coffee to stay awake.

Some of these drivers are unaware of just how exhausted they are until they suddenly nod off and a serious accident occurs.

In trucking collisions attributable to driver fault, fatigue is the number one cause. As a result, a new federal regulation has come into effect to prevent the punitive schedules that cause drivers to expose themselves and other motorists to the risk of serious injury and death.

The new law requires most large commercial vehicles to be equipped with electronic logging devices, or ELDs, that record the number of hours a truck driver spends behind the wheel. These devices generate logs that make it easier for regulators to enforce the current rules that limit driver time to 11 hours in a 14-hour workday. Drivers caught on the road without electronic logs can be fined and, beginning in April 2018, taken off the road.

In Missouri, an estimated one out of every eight road collisions involves a truck or tractor trailer. These vehicles are so huge and heavy compared to passenger cars that when a crash occurs, passengers in the latter can suffer catastrophic injuries or be killed. This is why the regulations on both interstate and intrastate transportation address a wide range of safety matters, such as:  

  • When drivers are not allowed to be on the road
  • Limits on hours of operation
  • Strict driver licensing requirements

Unfortunately, there are trucking companies that fail to follow these rules, opting to let an economic motive impel them to make dangerous judgments about trip lengths and timelines. Their drivers will work even while fatigued, with the predictable outcome being a serious truck accident.

Installing ELDs on commercial trucks will allow regulators to more easily identify the companies that compel their drivers to take unnecessary risks. The traditional paper logs have been too easy to manipulate and falsify, making it difficult to hold trucking firms accountable when a crash happens. Although some companies have protested that the new devices may make it difficult to meet customer demand, they will also help ensure that such demand can be met without putting the lives of other motorists at risk.

At Ryan R. Cox & Associates, we firmly believe that your safety and that of your passengers should always take precedence over corporate profit. If you or someone you love is injured by a fatigued and overworked truck driver, let us help you hold the trucking company accountable, so that you get the compensation you deserve and the company is deterred from taking more risks. Contact us or call 636-946-6886 today for a free and confidential consultation.

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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