Truck Safety Rule Survives Trucking Legal Challenges

Man Driving In Truck

There’s not much both major political parties agree on these days.  But fortunately an important tool to preventing catastrophic truck crashes is one of them.

In 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed a rule mandating that over-the-road truckers use electronic logging devices in their rigs.  These ELDs automatically record the time truck drivers are behind the wheel.  The rule enjoyed support from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

Many big-rig drivers today use paper logs, meaning they record their driving hours by hand.  It also means that paper logs can be easily manipulated by unscrupulous truck drivers and negligent trucking companies.

Long-haul trucker hours are regulated by the federal government.  They can only spend a certain number of consecutive hours behind the wheel before pulling over for rest.  These federally mandated rest periods guard against fatigued truck drivers, who can cause fatal trucking accidents.

The ELDs are designed to keep truckers and trucking companies honest in following these Hours of Service rules.

Trucking Industry Opposed Measure to Prevent Tired Drivers

Some in the trucking industry opposed the ELD requirement ever since it was proposed.  However, the last legal barrier recently fell and it appears the new ELD rule will take effect at the end of 2017.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association of a lower court ruling.  The trucking organization turned to the Supreme Court to overturn the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s previous decision in favor of the ELD mandate.

With no more legal hurdles and solid support of Congress, the ELD appears good to go.  And hopefully with it better rested, more alert truck drivers.

Another proposed trucking safety rule, which was held up for review by the new presidential administration, also has cleared all final obstacles.

Limiting Serious Truck Accidents with Better Driver Training

Inexperienced and poorly trained truckers can pose dangers to other drivers on the road.  This newly adopted FMCSA rule sets standard training foundations for new truck drivers.

It establishes a common teaching curriculum throughout the country that individuals applying for commercial drivers’ licenses must undergo.  The new training standards include in-classroom work as well as practice hours behind the wheel. Unfortunately, the rule does not mandate a minimum number of hours for either type of training.  But specific topics to be covered in both classroom and driving work are spelled out.

When trucking companies ignore or throw up roadblocks to safety rules, it demonstrates that their priority lies with the bottom line rather than public safety.  And when they and truck drivers act negligently and cause accidents, they should be held accountable.

If you had a family member killed or suffered serious injuries in a crash involving a commercial truck, a truck accident attorney can represent your legal rights.

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

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Articles June 28, 2017