Truck drivers must now record their hours electronically

In an effort to prevent truck driver fatigue, the hours of commercial drivers must now be recorded using electronic devices.

Many people in West Virginia and throughout the U.S. are killed in accidents involving a large truck every year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2013, 3,602 people were killed in trucking accidents. Of these 3,602 people, 15 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, 67 percent were riding in passenger vehicles and 16 percent were the occupants of large trucks.

To prevent fatal and injurious truck accidents, particularly ones involving driver fatigue, U.S. News states that commercial drivers will no longer be able to log their hours using paper-reporting methods. Instead, they will now have to use electronic logging devices that track their hours automatically. This new regulation affects nearly 3 million large truck and bus drivers.

The new rule's effect on truck drivers

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association believes that this new regulation will prevent 562 injuries and 26 fatalities every year. Additionally, through paperwork reductions, the organization estimates that these electronic recording requirements will save $1 billion on an annual basis.

Despite the use of these electronic device's potential to achieve cost savings and prevent fatal accidents and collisions that result in life-threatening injuries, some are opposed to this new regulation. For example, those who operate their own trucks or their own small fleet of trucks say that this new regulation will put unneeded pressure on drivers. Some are concerned that when freight companies see that drivers have not reached the number of driving hours they can put in, they will pressure them to continue driving even if they are too fatigued to do so.

How drowsiness affects drivers

Although this new rule has the potential to prevent commercial drivers from operating a vehicle in a fatigued state, drowsy driving continues to be a problem on the roads in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that in 2013, drowsy driving was responsible for 800 deaths and 44,000 injuries. When drivers operate a vehicle in a fatigued state, they become less capable of:

  • Reacting as quickly as they need to in dangerous driving situations
  • Making good decisions as they drive
  • Paying full attention to the road in front of them

When drivers fail to take necessary precautions to prevent drowsiness, West Virginia crash victims who survive an accident may suffer from financial and physical consequences. In this situation, those harmed in an accident involving a fatigued driver may benefit from turning to an attorney to receive legal guidance.