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Federal trucking regulations: Will new rule increase safety?

In today's technology-driven world, monitoring devices can be used to improve the safety of many different things. Local parents might use a baby monitor to keep watch on a newborn, while home and business owners might utilize surveillance cameras to keep a digital eye on their surroundings. In any event, these devices are usually used with safety as their underlying purpose. In some cases, though, when monitoring devices are mandated in the name of safety, opposition arises.

According to a legal brief recently filed in a U.S. Court of Appeals, a government mandate centering on monitoring devices in commercial vehicles will not solve the truck accident problem in America. The brief, filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, argued that the mandate, a new FMCSA regulation, is arbitrary, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and does not even improve safety.

The recent regulation aims to have interstate truckers put electronic monitoring devices in their vehicles. The devices would record a truck's movement and location; however, the OOIDA notes that this would not be much of an improvement over the current paper trucking log system, since the devices cannot input changes in duty status without the driver actually entering that data in. Thus, the OOIDA argues, the regulation is not in compliance with a statute requiring ELMs, or electronic monitoring devices, to correctly and automatically record changes in drivers' duty status.

The regulation was finalized last year for all interstate commercial vehicles from the year 2000 and newer. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the OOIDA's brief will be, although it is sure to keep those in the industry paying attention. Also likely to want to know more are those who have been affected by 18-wheeler accidents and the tremendous damage they can cause. Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem and one that is at the root of many truck accidents in Delaware. For legal advice and information regarding truck driver fatigue and negligence, a personal injury attorney can help.

Source: American Journal of Transportation, "Truckers say monitoring device mandate won't improve safety and violates constitutional rights," March 31, 2016

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