Technological advancement can give us a good life but can’t save us from getting injured in truck accidents. The lawyers dealing with truck accidents often hear about people scamming the system for dodging the safety rules that are designed for protecting everyone on the public road and make the trucks safer.
As of 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has mandated the electronic log devices for the commercial motor vehicles and the semi-trucks. The devices are meant to impose existing hours of service laws, especially for the commercial truckers. Paper logbooks got replaced by the electronic log devices that observe the engine hours, movement of the vehicle, information of the location and miles driven. Hence, the truck operators can be insisted to take the mandatory rest breaks to avoid fatigue and remain at the best of health. Road safety can be improved. As per FMCSA, arou8nd 26 lives can be saved and approximately 562 injuries occurring from the accidents can be put to stop.
As per the attorneys, it is the trucking companies that are creating pressure on the drivers to break the rules and the federal regulations. Hence, truck drivers also get killed or severely injured in truck accidents.
An investigation done by USA Today revealed that the truckers are deceiving the safety rules. Even, if any truck driver is protesting against the company pressure, he/she is being fired by the company.
A true incident:
As per a story of USA Today, 10th July 2017, a Southern California Port trucker named Flores who used to haul shipping containers frequently admitted that he switched over from making use of the electronic log devices to the fake paper logbook for bypassing the fatigue laws because he was crossing the maximum service hours. According to Flores, the company for which he was working used to pay him very well for extra duty and the leased truck. Even, the company was aware of Flores’s working hours.
After revealing his story, Flores was terminated from the company, and the later took his truck. Hence, he had to suffer a loss of $60,000 in lease payments that he was making since the year 2013.
This story is one such proof of the truck drivers working as servants for more money. Many drivers exposed that they were forced to sign contracts of the lease-to-own truck that further put the truck drivers into massive debt to their trucking employers. The only way left for the helpless drivers is to work for extended hours breaking the law.
Again, if they deny to work or file complaints against the employers, they had to face retaliation like lower-paying routes. They got downed into more debts like paying the lease, monthly maintenance of the truck, etc. Many drivers revealed that if they complain about the problem to the supervisor, the later used to show them the door or ask them to leave the job.
As per the reports of the department of transportation inspection, Morgan Southern had 15-hours violation citations in California.
Hence, it is seen that in spite of the good and capable truckers who wanted to obey the rules and use the electronic log devices, the system forced them to fake their attendance and working hours. It raises a question as if the system has failed.
The trucking industry is not in a good place. Certain records can scare people and urge them to stay away from commercial trucks at any cost while driving on the public road. The prime safety proposal of FMSCA is dead. If the issue is to be resolved, stricter penalties should be proposed against the breach. The FMCSA should take a closer look into the core incidents and talk to more truck drivers to get inside the real story of the trucking industry.
Few questions have been raised on the assumption that truckers will find a way to eschew the system just like hacking of computers, telecommunications, and smartphones. Most of them will do it for their livelihood. Somebody has to stop them. Who will take that responsibility? Who will be stated as liable for the crime? What will be the punishment? Will the truck drivers be given a good life? The answer is still pending, and research is going on to curb the problem.