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New electronic monitor rule to log trucking hours

A rule issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in December 2015 is requiring commercial truckers in West Virginia and around the country to install an electronic device that monitors trucking hours. These monitoring devices must be put into use within two years after the rule goes into effect. A company that has already put a similar electronic device into use which does not meet the requirements of the new rule will be able to continue using it for four more years.

Since 1938, commercial truck drivers have had to keep paper logs of their hours on the road. In 1995, Congress ordered the Department of Transportation to begin developing regulations that would require the electronic recording devices, but the safety administration took no action until a federal appeals court ordered it to do so in 2004. This new government rule is designed to enforce federal trucking regulations whose purpose is to prevent truck driver fatigue.

The electronic monitors will make it possible for roadside safety inspectors to spot violations of federal law in order to protect lives. Paper logs can be faked by keeping two sets of logs or other log book violations, whereas the electronic devices will make that much more difficult. It is estimated that these devices will save $1 billion per year in paper reduction and other costs and save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries per year.

Driving excessive hours has long been a problem in the trucking industry, and drowsy drivers have caused accidents that have resulted in catastrophic injuries to others on the road. A person who has been injured in such an accident may want to have the help of an attorney in seeking compensation from the driver and trucking company for medical expenses, lost wages and other applicable damages.

Source: WKRG, "Truck Drivers Must Now Log Their Hours Electronically", Associated Press, Dec. 10, 2015

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