How Logbooks and Electronic Recordings Can Prove Your Accident’s Truck Driver Was Negligent
Commercial truck injury cases can be extremely complicated. One main reason for this difficulty focuses on evidence and securing proof of negligence. While there may be plenty of evidence that can be useful to your case, it may be nearly impossible to acquire.
The average person may not have access to this evidence or even know about the different types that could be used. This is why it is always in your best interest to discuss your case with an attorney. An attorney can make sure the trucking company doesn’t try to hide or destroy essential evidence—specifically driver logbooks and electronic performance recorders.
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, all commercial driving companies are required to have their drivers maintain a detailed logbook of their actions during hauls. This information is important, as a truck driver’s records are often necessary to successfully win a full and fair settlement. It is illegal for a trucking company to destroy a driver’s records after a truck accident, unless it has been more than six months. However, in the state of Texas, the state of limitations for a personal injury case is two years—18 months after logbooks can be destroyed.
However, an experienced attorney can arrange to have a judge order the company to preserve records that may be vital for your case.
Electronic On-Board Recorders
For the past few years, FMCSA has been fighting hard to make electronic on-board recording devices mandatory for commercial motor vehicles. These electronic “black boxes” will record everything from speed to length of driving periods to be used as evidence in collision cases. In April 2010, a final rule on these devices was published and specified their technical requirements, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit invalidated it in 2011. The judges felt that the FMCSA…
- Didn’t address ways to ensure that electronic on-board recording devices were not used to harass drivers.
- Did not estimate the safety benefits of devices already in use.
- Did not factor how much in-use recorders already increase compliance among drivers.
Since then, the FMCSA has been working toward addressing these concerns to ensure that all commercial motor vehicles will eventually be equipped with electronic recorders.
Researchers for the Center for Truck and Bus Safety at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have found evidence that may help the FMCSA show how important electronic recorders can be. Their data showed that trucks that operated with electronic hours-of-service recorders had…
- Lower accidental crash rates. Equipped trucks had an 11.7% lower crash rate than those not equipped.
- Lower preventable crash rates. Equipped trucks had a 5.1% lower crash rate for accidents that could be considered avoidable.
- Fewer hours-of-service violations. Equipped trucks were 53% less likely to have driving-related HOS violations and were 49% less likely to have non-driving HOS violations.
The Help You Want to Acquire the Evidence You Need
Because time is so crucial in truck accident cases, you don’t want to delay in hiring an attorney. There is the risk that the employer could end up erasing data on the driver’s electronic log book. There may be more information that can be gathered by your attorney too. All of this evidence will help in building a solid truck accident claim. If you’re having trouble locating this evidence within this time period after a Houston truck accident, it’s vital that you speak with a lawyer.
To obtain a copy of the driver’s log book or recordings, you should seek the help of an experienced truck accident attorney who has similar cases before. Get in touch with us today and see how we can obtain the other important pieces of evidence you need to support your claim.