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New Jersey Trucking Accident Lawyers- Improving Safety With Electronic Logging Devices

Actor Tracy Morgan was severely injured when the Mercedes limousine he was traveling in was struck by a semi-truck on Saturday, June 7th, on the New Jersey Turnpike. The accident killed Morgan’s friend, writer James McNair. Mr. Morgan was transferred from the hospital to a New Jersey rehabilitation facility on June 20th, where he will continue his recovery from his injuries. It is expected that Morgan will remain at the rehab center for a few weeks.

The driver of the truck, Kevin Roper of Jonesboro, Georgia, has pleaded not guilty to one count of death by auto, and four counts of assault by auto. Mr. Roper is alleged to have dozed off, and then hit Morgan’s limo after swerving to avoid slowed traffic ahead of him. Mr. Roper reportedly hadn’t slept for over 24 hours prior to the accident, but apparently he did not violate the current driving time rules. The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) reported that he had driven for 9 hours and 37 minutes on the day of the accident, which is actually less than the 11 hours permitted by federal regulations. He had been on duty for 13 hours and 32 minutes (just under the limit).

This accident has focused more attention onto truck safety and, more specifically, truck driver fatigue.

Improving Truck Driving Safety With Electronic Logging Devices

Nearly 35% of interstate truckers use an electronic logging device, which is designed to improve road safety. The on-board computer, which syncs with the truck’s engine, is used to keep track of driving time in order to prevent truckers from staying on the highway for too many hours, and then possibly falling asleep at the wheel. Many drivers still utilize paper driver logs, which are easy to falsely amend. Tricking the electronic log is far more difficult, as it knows exactly how much time remains on the clock before reaching the federally mandated 11-hour maximum daily driving time. When a driver approaches the end of an allotted shift, if he or she does not cease driving, the computer can turn off the engine remotely.

Truck driving safety has dramatically improved since 1990, when the rate of fatal crashes involving large trucks was 3.27 per million vehicle miles. In 2012, it was down to 1.42 per million vehicle miles, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). And additional improvement is likely – the FMCSA is working on generating rules that would require electronic logging devices in all interstate trucks and buses. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York has stated that ‘e-logs’ will most likely be required by 2017.

FMCSA officials have said that getting new rules in place is a priority, and they believe once computer logs are mandatory, driving time violations will be greatly reduced, as will crashes involving fatigued truck drivers.

Contact the New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers at the Offices of Harold J. Gerr, Attorney at Law

To schedule an appointment with an experienced New Jersey truck accident injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr, contact us online or call 732-537-8570 (toll-free at 1-877-249-4600). Your first consultation is free of charge. Our office is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., and evening or weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will also travel to meet with you.

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