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Closer Inspection of Truck Drivers' Logbooks Could Save Lives

Commercial truck drivers work long hours driving huge vehicles over thousands of miles. Their ability to remain alert while driving is crucial not only for their own safety but also for the safety of everyone on the road. Yet demands by customers and their own employers require them to deliver their loads on time hundreds of miles away. In attempting to meet these deadlines, drivers often drive without the rest required to keep them alert.

Federal regulations limit the amount of driving truck drivers can do without a rest period. Presently the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits drivers to 11 hours of driving in a 14-hour period. Regulators are looking to reduce that amount to 10 hours. The purpose of the proposed reduction of hours is to "help create an environment where commercial truck drivers are rested, alert, and focused on safety," according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

While decreasing hours on the road is important, some commentators claim that more should be done. Drivers are required to keep track of hours on the road and time spent resting in logbooks that they must keep in their vehicles. The problem is that some drivers falsify their logbooks so that they can drive longer than allowed. "The driver logs are known as comic books inside the profession. Drivers often keep two sets of books: one for the company that shows their actual hours and one if they are stopped at roadside inspection," according to a spokesperson for the group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. The estimated number of logbook violations found every year is more than 220,000. The number of violations that are not discovered by authorities is unknown.

Giving truck drivers more rest and limiting their road time is a safe idea. Making sure their logbooks are not falsified is just as important. If you are involved in an accident with a commercial motor vehicle, be sure to consult with a truck accident attorney familiar with trucking law and regulations.