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Electronic logging for truckers may limit workplace accidents

A federal mandate for all commercial trucks to be fitted with electronic log machines took effect in December. This will hopefully prevent many fatal workplace accidents that result from fatigued truck drivers in California whose demanding delivery schedules force them to drive for more hours than allowed by safety regulations. Many drivers claim their employers threatened to fire them if they did not falsify their paper logs, which were the only method of record keeping up to now.

An extended investigation by USA Today Network revealed details that were not evident in trucking data kept by authorities. By monitoring vehicles of port trucking companies over a four-year period, it was determined that many companies in the Los Angeles area schedule truck drivers for 20-hour shifts, six days per week. Investigators say these employers caused hundreds of commercial vehicles to be on the roads with sleep-deprived drivers behind the steering wheels.

Investigators correlated the information they gathered with crash data in the federal database for the period 2013 through 2016. Based on that information it was revealed that at least 189 of the monitored trucks were involved in accidents within one day of extended driving hours. An executive of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance noted that the results of this investigation are enough to justify further examination.

Although the new electronic recording may save lives, the level of compliance by California trucking company owners remains to be seen. Truckers who are injured in workplace accidents may qualify for workers' compensation benefits. An attorney who is experienced in this field of the law can provide the necessary support and guidance that might secure maximum benefits to cover medical expenses, lost wages and any additional benefits for which they might qualify.

Source: azcentral.com, "Asleep at the wheel", Brett Murphy, Dec. 28, 2017

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