As a Missouri semi truck accident attorney, I am a fan of the federal government’s proposal to require electronic on-board recorders in the cabs of interstate trucks. EOBRs, as they are known, would replace the paper logs that truck drivers currently keep to track whether they are complying with limitations on their hours of driving. The proposal has already been endorsed by the Truckload Carriers Association at its San Diego meeting in March and has the backing of various safety organizations. But a new endorsement from the American Trucking Associations will also be influential in the trucking community, which is generally suspicious of new regulations. The ATA’s endorsement covers both a proposed rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and a parallel bill pending in the Senate.
Under both the FMCSA’s proposal and the Senate bill, all trucking companies and independent truckers currently required to keep Records of Duty Status would be required to install EOBRs. The goal is to track truckers’ hours on the road more reliably than allowed by the current paper system, which can be compromised by forgetfulness or deceit. At least one trucking industry group, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, opposes them saying they will drive up costs without improving safety. In its endorsement, ATA was also cautious about costs, saying regulation should ensure the devices are cost-effective. It also asked for regulations to protect the privacy of truckers and trucking companies and to remove the burden of additional supporting documentation.
This endorsement makes me, as a St. Louis tractor-trailer accident lawyer, cautiously optimistic about the reception of the EOBR rule. In general, small trucking businesses seem to oppose the rule, while larger trucking companies seem to be in favor — and the larger companies are more likely to be the ones with the money and lobbying clout. Currently, allowing drivers to self-report their hours on paper logs leaves the trucking industry virtually unregulated — drivers are basically free to lie in order to extend their hours and make more money. Sometimes, their trucking companies explicitly or subtly encourage them to lie. EOBRs have the potential to keep everyone honest, allowing federal regulators to weed out the bad carriers and reward the good. However, it’s vital that the FMCSA does not allow industry lobbyists to carve out loopholes and exceptions that undermine this goal.
At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we focus our practice on accidents with large commercial trucks because we know how devastating they can be. Because these 18-wheelers are so much larger and heavier than ordinary cars and SUVs, they can do massive amounts of damage in a crash. The result can be death or serious injury for the people in the smaller vehicles, with life-altering personal and financial consequences. When this is caused by a trucker’s or trucking company’s negligence, we help our clients sue the irresponsible parties for full compensation. Our southern Illinois big rig accident attorneys know that no amount of money can ever bring back a person or an ability, but it absolutely can help victims cope with their expensive medical needs, loss of income and personal losses. We help clients ensure they get the best possible recovery for their injuries.
If your family has been affected by a serious accident with a large truck and you believe it was caused by the negligence of the other driver or trucking company, our law firm can help. For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or send us an email today.