Nearly 4,000 people died in accidents with tractor trailers in 2013, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). That is why the federal agency is mandating that all big rigs in the US have electronic logging devices installed by the end of 2017.
These devices will keep track of how long drivers are spending behind the wheel daily, which should reduce driver fatigue. It has been shown that many fatal truck crashes are due to driver fatigue, such as the Tracey Morgan crash in New Jersey last year.
By federal law, truck drivers can only drive 11 hours per day, and they only may be on duty for 14 hours before they rest for 10 hours.
Right now, drivers keep track of hours with a paper log, but electronic monitoring will disable those trucks when those hour limits are reached.
Many truck drivers are against the new electronic system as it can end up costing them money. Some older drivers say that the new program will discourage them from continuing to drive; they note that they already place the highest priority on safety and this new program is only going to cost them money.
Supporters of electronic logging say that the new system will make trucking safer and is worth any additional extra costs, even if some consumer goods end up costing more.
Our Virginia and North Carolina truck accident law firm has seen many serious and fatal truck crashes caused by driver fatigue. There are more than 500,000 big rig accidents in the US each year and many of them are caused by exhausted truck drivers. We have found that about 13% of fatal truck crashes in Virginia each year are caused by driver fatigue.
If you have ever been rear ended by a big rig or involved in any other type of crash with a truck, you should speak to an experienced truck accident attorney right away. There is a good chance that driver error or driver fatigue led to the wreck.