September 21, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Ted Oesau has been a truck driver for more than two decades. After seeing a fellow trucker suing his employer for unpaid overtime, Oesau spoke out to KARK 4 news about trucking companies that force drivers to clock fewer hours than they actually work, putting drivers on the road longer than the law allows.
"It's a widespread problem," said Oesau. "60 to 70 percent of the industry is doing it nationwide."
Like Oesau, many truck drivers feel that the excess hours are problematic in a number of ways. However, he and many of his colleagues fear that failing to cave in to trucking company pressure can cost them their livelihoods; this can translate into more truckers driving fatigued, and more dangerous roads
for all of us.
Logbook System Imperfect Method for Tracking Truckers' Hours-of-Service
Under current federal standards, truck drivers carrying only cargo and not passengers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after spending 10 consecutive hours off duty. Furthermore, a commercial driver may not get behind the wheel after 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours on duty in eight consecutive days. This 7/8 consecutive day period may be restarted if a driver takes 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Truckers are expected to track their hours-of-service using a logbook system. State patrol
officers and other law enforcement officials may check driver compliance with hours-of-service regulations. However, written records are easily manipulated, and facing mandates from freight companies, some truckers feel they have little choice but to skirt the rules.
Forged Logbooks Serve As Damning Proof of Driver Fatigue in an Accident
The primary purpose of hours-of-service regulations is to prevent truck driver fatigue. Even with hours-of-service limitations in place, fatigue is a serious problem among commercial drivers: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that as many as 750 deaths
and 20,000 roadway injuries every year can be directly attributed to fatigued commercial vehicle drivers.
Someone who is injured because a truck operator was driving fatigued may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit. A forged logbook provides strong evidence of negligence, and may indicate that company policies promote long hours at the expense of safety. If logbook forgeries can be uncovered in the investigation of a personal injury claim, victims have greater odds of securing the full monetary recovery they deserve.
Injured in an Accident? Talk To a Lawyer
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is on a course to require all trucks to be equipped with electronic onboard data recorders, devices similar to a GPS unit. The recorders switch on when the truck starts moving, and make it harder to falsify hours-of-service information. Still, the data recorder mandate will take some time to implement, and even the electronic system of tracking truckers' hours is not foolproof.
Truck drivers are often put in a tough position: risk their jobs, or risk public safety. But, innocent motorists should never have to pay the price. If you have been injured in a truck accident, or if a family member has been killed, you may be entitled to compensation. Talk to a Minnesota truck accident lawyer
today to learn more.
Article provided by Conlin Law Firm LLC
Visit us at www.conlinlawfirm.com---
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