As a regulatory deadline loomed, truckers staged a last minute protest against a rule meant for safer roads in Houston and nationally.
The long awaited deadline for truckers to have electronic logging devices installed on their big rigs happened yesterday and drivers around the country staged protests hoping to delay the safety rule meant to cut down on truck accidents caused by fatigue.
NPR reports that as the December 18th deadline for having ELDs installed arrives, independent truckers hope protests will cause the Trump Administration to push back the date. Most large and medium sized trucking firms have already installed the logs, but independent drivers cite the cost and the fact that they are paid by the mile as a barriers to compliance.
Losing pay stuck in traffic
Electronic logging replaces paper logs, sometimes called “comic books” due to reports of widespread falsifying to stay within the eleven hour maximum hours driving per day. Critics within the industry believe that federal regulators are out of touch with their challenges. Drivers are paid by the mile and not the hour. A traffic jam or other delay reduces their miles driven while the clock ticks away allowable hours.
“Federal regulators simply don’t have a clue,” says Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, a trade group. “They don’t have a clue what truckers do, how they go about doing it, the environment that they live in, the schedules and things like that, the demands of the job.”
The most popular ELD costs $500, which truckers opposed to their imposition claim is too expensive.
We’re tired of seeing drivers tired
Federal regulators counter that ELDs are designed to prevent the most prevalent contributing cause of trucker accidents, driver fatigue.
“We see these issues in crash after crash, and we’re tired, yes we are tired, of seeing commercial drivers being tired,” said Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. He made the comments at a recent NTSB hearing on a horrific crash involving a tour bus and a semitrailer outside Palm Springs, Calif., in October 2016.
Both the trucker and the bus driver may have dozed before the accident. The trucker remained stopped on the road after traffic ahead had already left, and there were no skid marks indicating that the bus driver had tried to brake before impact.
Houston’s truck accident attorneys
The argument of ELD opponents makes no sense. ELDs merely change how the hours are recorded. Whether they are recorded manually or electronically, they still face the same limitation on hours. Arguing against the method implies the opposition understands that hours can no longer be fudged.
If you’ve or a loved one has been injured or killed in a big rig accident, the Callahan Law Firm is here to help you get justice. We work on a contingency basis, meaning our firm is paid legal fees only if you make a recovery whether by settlement or verdict.