Over the years we have posted about many Atlanta truck accidents involving all kinds of trucks, including tractor trailers. These accidents can be very dangerous, particularly when two trucks collide and a fuel tanker is involved. This type of truck crash shut down I-20 for many hours earlier this week. Traffic was redirected as the clean up took many hours given the spill involved. Another truck crash the same day happened on I-285, blocking the eastbound lanes for several hours.
The cause of each of these crashes is not yet known. But we do know that truck crashes can be very dangerous and can cause severe personal injuries. Sometimes these crashes are due to driver fatigue. Given these recent truck incidents involving the many trucks that traverse Atlanta’s roads and highways each day, we want to remind our readers about some important aspects of trucking regulations.
Trucks are regulated by the federal government as they travel between states and engage in interstate commerce. These commercial truck driving regulations are the responsibility of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). One of the areas of concern is the number of hours drivers are permitted to drive without a break. Earlier this year, a new regulation went into effect that requires some trucks to be equipped with an electronic logging device. This records the hours that drivers are actually driving. The requirement came after a test involving these devices that showed a decrease in accidents as well as large decreases in violations of the consecutive number of hours drivers can safely drive. In the past, these logs were paper logbooks and were kept by drivers.
Although the new electronic log regulations may result in drivers taking longer to get from place to place, the roads should be safer. Some are not happy with this change, since it takes judgment away from drivers who might have to rest only after spending time in traffic or looking for a safe place to park. In other words, the electronic device cannot record whether a driver is actually in need of a rest, or has been sitting in traffic for an hour and is not as tired as he or she might be having been on the road for that hour.
Truck drivers subject to these regulations are permitted to drive no more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period. After that, they are required to take 10 hours of rest. The rationale for the new devices is to save lives. The federal government estimates these devices will avoid nearly 2,000 crashes, over 500 injuries and save 25 lives every year. But there are some concerns that the price of goods will increase and/or that drivers will drive faster to get to their destinations when perishable goods are involved. Even with refrigeration, some food costs will increase with more time in transit since drivers are paid for that time and that gets passed along to consumers.
Smaller trucking companies and organizations are not happy with these rules. The devices are more of a burden on smaller companies and in that way provide an advantage to larger carriers. Some are seeking an exemption from use of these electronic devices given the costs involved.
Scholle Law is here to help after a truck accident. Trucking companies and drivers may be the cause of a crash that harms you or a loved one. We hold these entities responsible for this and help victims recover from a serious truck crash, taking the burden of the legal aspects off their shoulders. We seek the financial recovery to which victims are entitled. Contact us for a free consultation after a truck accident.