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Fatigued truck drivers: Causing accidents, injuries, fatalities

By Marc A. Johnston, posted in Truck Accidents on January 31, 2014

The problem of fatigued truck drivers rolling at high speeds down interstates and streets in enormous vehicles plagues Portland and the rest of the U.S. It is well documented that fatigued truckers are far more likely to be in truck accidents than those who have had needed, required sleep.

Regulations require truckers are limited to 14-hour shifts, of which only 11 can be spent behind the wheel. So why do we keep reading of truck drivers who regularly ignore safety rules and cause accidents that result in injuries and fatalities?

Unfortunately, there are still truck drivers who falsify driving logs and trucking companies that either look the other way or even encourage the illegal behavior.

Prosecutors in Illinois say they have evidence of an egregious example of log falsification and the damage it can do. A commercial truck driver is accused there of slamming into emergency vehicles after falling asleep while driving. Prosecutors say he had been driving for more than 36 hours.

A highway worker was killed in the crash and a state trooper critically injured.

Law enforcement officials say a falsified paper logbook was in the 18-wheeler; an attempt to dupe authorities into believing that he was following regulations.

Many safety advocates have long pushed for government to require truckers to log their hours electronically.

Electronic reporting has long been done in Europe, and by some companies here, and is said to significantly hamper the ability of truckers to falsify driving records.

But the trucking industry resists any requirement to shift to electronic logs, saying the devices would enable harassment by authorities of truckers.

Let’s hope that one day soon the e-logs will be implemented nationwide so that we can see a real drop in accidents caused by tired truckers.

For those injured by fatigued truck drivers, a conversation with a personal injury attorney can help clarify viable legal options for compensation for damages.

Marc Johnston
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Source: Chicago Tribune, “Fatal crash exposes weaknesses in federal safety rules,” Mitch Smith, Kim Geiger, Clifford Ward and Angie Leventis Lourgos, Jan. 30, 2014

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