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Can a recording device help protect against fatal truck crashes?

Many of us in Rockland County have turned on the news to hear about a semitrailer truck causing a fatal accident. Unfortunately, trucking accidents are incredibly common in New York, and often they are caused by overworked, fatigued and dangerously drowsy drivers. Although some may say that it is just part of the job, no job should put profit ahead of their employees' and bystanders' safety and lives. Trying to rationalize pushing truckers to their limits comes up short when their drivers cause fatal accidents.

Although family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit following the loss of a loved one in a trucking accident, they would probably rather have that loved one alive and well. Pushing for safer trucks, safer working conditions for truckers and a way to better enforce truckers' driving limits all can cut down on the number of fatal accidents on New York's roads.

Many trucking companies agree and have been voluntarily using an electronic recording device that will track how long a tractor-trailer has been on the road. Instead of using paper log books that can be easily changed, an electronic device will likely do a better job of capturing just how long a driver has been driving.

Though there are federal and state limits on how long a trucker can be on the road, there aren't necessarily great ways of enforcing those limits. With a digital record of their hours, however, both employers and safety authorities can stop overworked drivers from hitting the road.

Now, the government just needs to mandate that all trucks start carrying the device.

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

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