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Truck industry pressures are no excuse for negligence

The employment situation in the U.S. has continued to steadily improve. While this is good for the overall economic picture, it does put pressure on certain industries. Trucking is one of these industries. As this blog explained in a previous post, trucking companies are having difficulties attracting qualified drivers.

Despite this problem, lawmakers continue to look for ways to make trucking safer, which some industry insiders claim is only going to make the truck driver shortage even worse. When it comes to driver training, for example, one idea is to increase the number of required training hours before an individual can obtain their commercial driver's license. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, this could cost more than $5 billion to implement over the next decade.

The trucking industry is also concerned about requirements for truck drivers to track their hours of service electronically, rather than through a written log book. Regulators contend that electronic log books will allow them to more accurately observe truckers' hours of service. However, the industry is concerned that older drivers will oppose this kind of requirement, and it will be another reason for experienced drivers to look for different jobs.

Trucking is as important to West Virginia as it is to many other states. However, safety should not have to give way to concerns about driver shortages and other industry problems. Truckers and truck companies have a responsibility to operate within the federal trucking regulations and to take reasonable steps to keep others on the road safe.

A driver's level of experience, or whether they are adept at handling newer regulations, is no excuse for causing truck accidents. When driver negligence leads to an accident, the trucker and the company for which he or she works may be legally liable for the resulting damages.

Source: Trucks.com, "Federal Regulations Could Worsen Truck Driver Shortages," Tony Dreibus, April 5, 2016

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