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Will there finally be a way to check truck drivers' hours?

Most people in Reading recognize that truck drivers can't be on the road all day, every day. They, just like the rest of us, need time to sleep, relax and rest. For them, it may be even more important, as a drowsy truck driver or one that can no longer pay attention to the road is putting themselves and everyone else on the road in danger. A fully loaded truck up against a standard-size car can cause severe injuries, which is why both the federal government and Pennsylvania have laws in place that dictate how long drivers can be behind the wheel.

The problem is, however, that there is no accurate way of tracking their hours. Even though truckers are required to keep log books, most of them are paper and easily forged. If a driver wants to or is pressured to work over his or her limit, there is very little to prevent him or her from not recording all of his or her hours. What truckers need is to have a recording device that can't easily be changed.

Fortunately, there is just such a device already on the market. It is required in Europe and a handful of other places around the globe, but it remains voluntary in the U.S. While many larger trucking companies are already using the device, smaller companies are opposed to making the device mandatory.

While the government has proposed making it mandatory to include the recording device on interstate trucks, it is not yet an enforceable regulation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that if the proposal is accepted, it could prevent 434 injuries and 20 deaths every year.

Source: The Associated Press, "Devices to track truck, bus driver hours proposed," Joan Lowy, March 13, 2014

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