Falsification of paper trucking logs played a significant role in the conclusion of a case involving a fatal truck and motorcycle collision. Two motorcyclists perished in the 2011 incident involving a tractor-trailer. Discrepancies were shown between paper logs and a black box that electronically tracks driving and resting hours. According to information presented, the driver of the tractor-trailer recorded 10 hours of driving time while the black box showed 11 hours and 10 minutes. Additionally, the driver logged 10 hours of rest time while actual data showed no more than eight hours of rest in the 30-hour period prior to the accident.
The imposition of regulations related to safety in truck driving allows paper logs until 2015, and the accident occurred well in advance of the deadline for transitioning to electronic logging. However, the attorney representing the family of one of the deceased motorcyclists indicated that many companies in that time frame had switched logging methods and that lack of proper logging allowed for falsification of data, contributing to the incident.
An industry expert familiar with the case has indicated that the science of regulating driving and resting hours is imprecise and that this accident would not have had a different outcome if the hours of rest were different. However, the sizable judgement awarded to the family in this wrongful death case might have been different if the driver’s records had matched the electronic data from the black box or if the driver’s resting and driving hours had actually fallen within regulatory guidelines.
A family considering personal injury or wrongful death action in a trucking accident might need assistance in evaluating logs and related details. An attorney familiar with industry standards may be helpful in facilitating the necessary investigation and in filing an appropriate claim.
Source: Jacksonville Business Journal, “Fatal Landstar accident leads to $15 million verdict“, Jensen Werley, August 27, 2014