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New regulation requires truckers to log hours electronically

Drivers in South Carolina might be pleased to hear that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is putting a new regulation into place that requires commercial truckers and bus drivers to record their driving hours electronically. The aim of this rule is to prevent drowsiness and exhaustion, which contributes to serious accidents across the country.

Since 1938, commercial truck and bus drivers have had to record their hours on paper logs. However, safety advocates and collision investigators have complained that it is easy for the drivers to keep two sets of records or alter the logs to avoid following hour restrictions. By requiring drivers to use electronic logs, their driving time will be automatically recorded and monitored. The devices will also allow officials to record location information, miles driven and vehicle movement as well as detect federal violations that risk lives. The FMCSA estimates that, every year, the electronic logs will save $1 billion in reduced paperwork and other costs and prevent 562 injuries and 26 deaths.

Drivers who own small fleets or their own trucks have opposed the electronic logging requirement. They argue that the devices will allow the businesses that hire them to access their logs and harass them into staying on the road to reach the legally allowed driving limit when they want to rest. However, the new regulation includes technical and procedural provisions that aim to protect drivers from harassment.

Traffic accidents that involve semi trucks are sometimes the most serious because of the sheer weight of the commercial vehicles. A person who has been injured in such a crash that was caused by a drowsy or otherwise negligent truck driver may want to obtain the assistance of an attorney in filing a lawsuit against the driver and the trucking company itself seeking compensation for medical expenses and other losses that have been sustained.

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