The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the federal watchdog of the trucking industry, recently announced that 12% of the 129,120 crashes involving large trucks delivery trucks or buses in 2012 were caused by impaired driving. Impaired driving includes tired truck driver accidents.
Generally, truckers are paid by the mile. The FMCSA regulates and limits the number of hours a trucker can drive. This is called a trucker's “HOS” or hours on service. The natural conflict is that truckers make more money by driving (staying in service) longer. The HOS limitations imposed on truckers are deliberately intended to protect the public from crashes caused by truck driver fatigue. The FMCSA regulations require all interstate (over the road truckers who drive across state lines) to maintain up-to-date logbooks to verify that they are in compliance with HOS laws.
The industry's dirty little secret is that many drivers keep two logbooks. The first logbook is the one that truckers show their company to ensure that they are paid correctly for all the miles they drive. The second logbook is known in the industry as the “lie book.” The lie book is the HOS-compliant logbook that truckers present inspectors or other authorities. See this article about a trucking company that got raided for forcing drivers to falsify logbooks
Cheating truckers and "cooked books" are of such pervasive concern for the FMCSA that they recently proposed mandatory regulations requiring all interstate trucks and buses to be equipped with electronic logging devises (ELDs) or electronic on-board data recorders (EODRs). These devices automatically record data that can be downloaded anytime, especially after a trucking crash. These devices, often called black-boxes, record vehicle speed, braking, steering, and even seat belt usage. However, the most necessary feature of ELDs or EODRs in the view of the FMCSA is their foolproof ability to record a vehicle’s miles and hours of operation. The FMCSA implemented the requirement of black-boxes in all interstate trucks and buses to greatly undercut a trucker’s ability to cheat on their HOS compliance obligations. More importantly, the FMCSA estimates that mandatory ELD and EODR technology will prevent no less than 20 fatalities and 434 injuries caused by large buses and trucks each year.
If you are injured by a trucking company who cheats and violates federal regulations, you need an accident law firm that knows how to properly investigate the claim to uncover the proper documents to prove the reason why the crash occurred. If you don’t do this correctly, you may miss personal injury claims that could be brought against the trucking company and lessen your eventual monetary recovery. At Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, we have experience prosecuting these personal injury claims and will help you make sure that the trucking company is held responsible if it chooses to violate federal regulations. Call us today at (303) 782-9999 for your free accident injury case evaluation.