Electronic On-Board Devices as Truck Accident Evidence

Information obtained from electronic on-board devices could be used as truck accident evidence in a claim to recover compensation for damages. If you or someone you love was seriously or fatally injured in a crash with a big rig, contact personal injury lawyers in Long Island to discuss your case.

Going Digital with Electronic-On Board Devices

Drivers are required to keep track of how many hours they are behind the wheel of their truck. In order to prevent driver fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel, there are limits in the number of hours a trucker can drive. These are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

According to the FMCSA, there were 1.2 million citations given to truck drivers in 2011 for violating safety regulations. Nearly half of them (48 percent) involved hours-of-service (HOS) compliance and proper keeping of the logbooks.

Examples of violations included falsified logs and going over the allowable amount of time spent operating a commercial motor vehicle. As a result, there are considerations being made to require that electronic on-board devices replace handwritten logbooks.

It is believed that going digital would improve safety, reducing the number of crashes involving fatigued drivers. It would also make it easier to identify those who are going over the HOS.

An Overview of Hours-of Service Rules

One rule applies to the maximum amount of driving time. Truckers carrying property can drive as much as 11 hours, as long as they have been off duty for at least 10 consecutive hours.  The 14-hour limit rule is that after 10 consecutive hours off duty, truckers can’t drive beyond the 14th consecutive hours.

Another rule pertains to on-duty time limitations. A trucker cannot drive if he or she has been on duty for 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days. However, if the trucker has taken 34 or more consecutive hours off duty, the 7/8 consecutive day period can be restarted.

There are also rules pertaining to the sleeper berth, used for rest and sleep. At least 8 consecutive hours must be spent in it. Additionally, two separate consecutive hours must be taken off duty, in the sleeper berth or a combination.

But revisions and updates to the HOS rules continue to be made. For instance, starting in July of 2013, new provisions will be in place regarding the 34 hour restarts. It will only be able to be used one time each week and it must include two periods of home terminal time between 1 and 5 a.m.

With all of these rules and provisions, keeping track of and monitoring a driver’s time spent behind the wheel, resting and sleeping can be a challenge. Electronic on-board devices may do a much better job at tracking this information.

Types of Truck Accident Evidence

You may have some of your own evidence that can be useful in filing a claim, for instance, the following can prove invaluable when filing a claim:

  • a copy of the police report;
  • statements from witnesses; and
  • photographs.

However, personal injury lawyers in Long Island can help you get additional truck accident evidence, such as information contained in the logbooks or electronic on-board devices. A lawyer may also obtain the trucker’s records, such as driving history and drug/alcohol test results, which may also be helpful in establishing negligence.

Seeking Help from Personal Injury Lawyers in Long Island

If there was a violation of HOS, you could have a case not only against the driver but possibly the trucking company as well. Consulting with personal injury lawyers at Gacovino, Lake & Associates can help you learn the legal options you may have available.

Accidents can be unpredictable. They may occur on your way to the Long Island MacArthur Airport, a shopping trip or even just heading home. We understand the serious implications of a truck crash. We will carefully review all forms of evidence, such as the driver’s records and information contained in electronic on-board devices. Call 800-246-4878.

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