The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) puts regulations in place for the safety of truck drivers and those around them on the road. When drivers falsify their trucking log books to extend their hours and driving time, not only are they costing their company hundreds of dollars but they could also be a part of a conspiracy enacted by their employer to ignore the service rules endorsed by the DOT to make more of a profit. The current hours of legal service are outlined on the DOT website and currently state that property carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have regulations such as an 11 hour driving limit after 10 consecutive hours off duty. Furthermore, these drivers may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Consequently, the off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period. In a 7/8 day consecutive period, a CMV driver may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty. A commercial truck driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty .
Why Do Drivers Falsify Their Daily Logs?
There are many reasons why drivers or their respective company falsify their daily logs:
Failure to complete the record of daily duty activities of section § 395.8 or § 395.15, or making false reports in connections with such duty activities shall make the driver and/or the carrier liable for prosecution
Aside from the danger of actually falling asleep at the wheel, studies show that truck drivers who exceed these limits are measurably less alert and react slower to crisis situations. Some drivers break the rules because they are paid per mile – the more they drive the more they are paid. Other times, drivers are pressured by the trucking company to speed and/or exceed hours of service. This inevitably may cause fatal car, pedestrian, motorcycle or other trucking accidents.
On the other hand, a driver may be forced to falsify logs by their company to work beyond the scope of the federal law. It’s up to the driver to refuse loads that cannot be legally picked up or delivered on time. Unfortunately for these drivers, if they do not follow the law, the driver’s name is the one on the log hours, not the company’s. However, if the driver does refuse and they are then fired, they can report the company under a whistleblower lawsuit. This type of suit is a part of the False Claims Act, which according to the Florida Statue 68.082, is when a person knowingly causes or assists in causing false or fraudulent matters.
This not only protects the employee but also can benefit the relator of the information if the case is won. For suing on behalf of the government and employees, the whistleblower that points out the fraudulent issues can receive part, or sometimes all, of the money that was won from the settlement.
Truck Accidents & Logs
When a professional truck driver is involved in an accident with another truck, pedestrian, auto mobile, people usually jump to the conclusion that is the trucker who is at fault. However, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website, “in fatal crashes involving large trucks, 88 percent of the time the crash is attributable to the driver error by both car and truck drivers. Troopers are on the lookout for aggressive driving such as: following too closely, unsafe lane change and speeding violations committed by truck and car drivers as they interact on Florida highways.”
Still, in a truck accident case where is it solely the truck driver’s fault, one of the first things thata law enforcement officer will do after the accident is to find the truck driver’s log book to look for potential violations. If there are violations and the driver is out of compliance with regulations, a victim can sue the driver and his/her company for as much money as possible.
Trucking accidents can add a lot of stress to the lives of accident victims and the drivers of commercial vehicles. This stress is not limited to physical or concrete pain, but it also takes the form of outstanding medical bills, financial distress and emotional suffering. Fortunately for innocent truck accident victims, there is help out there for you that can life a significant amount of strain off of an overwhelmed victim of negligence such as the case when truck drivers falsify their logs.
On the contrary, if a truck driver is being pressured to operate their vehicles outside of regulatory standards because of their carriers or shippers, there is also help out there for you to be protected from penalties the illegally employer is threatening against them.
If you or a love done has suffered losses due to someone else’s lack of care, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Dolman Law Group . We offer a free consultation and case evaluation to help you get set in the right direction. Call (727) 451-6900 today for help.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765