In a sign the government may finally be getting serious about the risks of North Carolina trucking accidents and tractor-trailer accidents elsewhere in the nation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is moving to require data recorders to track hours-of-service compliance.
Our personal injury lawyers in Statesville and throughout North Carolina are in full support of this long overdue move on the part of the government. As we reported earlier this month on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog the government is moving to update hours-of-service regulations meant to keep fatigued truckers off the road.
But those regulations have long been rendered meaningless by an outdated system of hand-written log books used to track compliance. The data recorders would do so automatically and will almost certainly make a dramatic dent in the 380,000 large trucking accidents the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports each year in the United States.
“We cannot protect our roadways when commercial truck and bus companies exceed hours-of-service rules,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This proposal would make our roads safer by ensuring that carriers traveling across state lines are using EOBRs to track the hours their drivers spend behind the wheel.”
Some large carriers — including J.B. Hunt and Knight Transportation — already use the electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs). The proposed rule would mandate their use among more than 500,000 carriers nationwide. Those found in non-compliance could face fines of up to $11,000 per offense.
“This proposal is an important step in our efforts to raise the safety bar for commercial carriers and drivers,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “We believe broader use of EOBRs would give carriers and drivers an effective tool to strengthen their HOS compliance.”
We agree. The practice of paying truckers by the mile has made a farce out of the current system of tracking hours-of-service compliance and is just another reason why it is critical to consult an experienced lawyer when a Carolina trucking accident leads to serious or fatal injuries.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact our personal injury lawyers in Charlotte, Asheville and Greensboro. Call Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.