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How do Truck Drivers Evade Work Hour Regulations?

Tired Truck Drivers

Most of the nation’s commercial truck drivers and bus drivers are now officially on the clock in terms of properly recording their work hours.

Beginning April 1, full enforcement began of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) federal rule.  Between introduction last December and March 31 of this year, truckers largely were only given warnings when found in violation.  Now, truck drivers skirting the rules can be ticketed or taken off the road by law enforcement.

What is the new Electronic Logging Device Rule for Truck Drivers?

What is the new ELD rule?  It requires, with a few exceptions, commercial truckers to record their working hours into electronic devices rather than the old paper logs that were the industry standard.

Why is the ELD needed?  The paper logs used in the past could be easily manipulated by unscrupulous truck drivers or truck companies ignoring federal regulations.  The number of hours truck drivers spend on the road are important when it comes to public safety.  Fatigued truckers are dangerous drivers and can cause catastrophic accidents.  Therefore, there are federal rules – known as Hours of Service Rules – that require breaks and limit the number of hours truck drivers can drive per day and per week.

Hours of Service Rules dictate, among other things, that the majority of commercial truckers can drive no more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off the road, as well as 30 minutes of rest after a maximum of eight hours of driving.  The maximum number of hours a trucker can drive over seven straight days is 60; 70 hours over an eight-day period.

Truck Drivers Who Ignore Federal Regulations

Over-the-road truck drivers largely are paid by the mile, not the hour.  So the faster they deliver their loads, the more money they can make.  And that goes back to the paper logs.  Truck drivers who exceed these rules, and therefore run the risk of driving while tired, may keep an extra set of paper hour logs.  That extra set, complete with falsified but compliant driving hours, are saved for police inspections.

With truck drivers now required to input their driving hours into electronic devices, this illicit record keeping should be reduced.  And the number of drowsy truck drivers should be reduced as well.

Incidentally, Hours of Service Rules represent just one measure the federal government uses in judging the safety of truck drivers and truck companies.  Other criteria include:

·         Documented instances of speeding or cell phone use while driving

·         Documented instances of truckers drinking and driving or illegal drug use

·         Truck drivers medically unfit for the job

Shortly after full enforcement of the ELD rule began, a business outfit that links up truck carriers with companies reported a survey that showed 93 percent of truck drivers were in compliance with the new regulations.  A good showing, perhaps, but it still leaves a high number of truckers that may be hiding their illegal and unsafe driving hours.

If you had a family member killed or you were seriously injured in an accident with a large commercial truck, contact a truck accident attorney who has experience in uncovering wrongdoing by unprincipled truck drivers and truck companies and holding them accountable.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Articles May 1, 2018