Supreme Court Ruling Lowers El Paso Truck Accident Risk
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a federal program mandating electronic logging on trucker hours, a move that will likely lower truck accident risk in Texas and throughout the country.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) appealed an earlier decision ruling the Department of Transportation, as well as the Federal Safety Administration, had the right to require the devices be installed in all heavy duty trucks.
As our El Paso truck accident lawyers can explain, this is an important victory for truck safety advocates because far too many trucking companies and carriers have been known to cheat the system. They push drivers to work long hours to meet unrealistic deadlines in order to boost profits. Having truckers drive while fatigued puts not only their lives in danger, but also everyone else who shares the road with them. In most cases, when a truck collides with another vehicle, it’s the passengers of the smaller vehicle who suffer most.
Texas Has High Rate of Trucking Accidents
The truck accident risk is especially high in Texas as compared with other states. On average, the number of fatal truck accidents in Texas borders on 300 per year, while there are more than 2,000 injuries. That information comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In total, the state reports about 15,000 truck accidents annually. That means for every seven truck crashes, someone is injured and for every 50, someone dies. That’s a much higher rate than what we see in typical motor vehicle accidents.
This is why we recommend speaking with an attorney if you have been involved in a collision with a large truck. In many cases, injuries sustained in these crashes are severe, because these vehicles are so enormous. The smallest heavy truck weighs 10,000 pounds. Many big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more. It’s difficult to overstate the potential damage.
U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review
The ruling by the US. Supreme Court not to review the decision to uphold the electronic log requirements means that it will stand.
The OOIDA, a trucking industry trade group, had asked the high court to consider its petition to hear its argument against the mandate. The group argued that this requirement would in effect violate the privacy of truckers and lead to harassment by carriers over hours worked.
Not all in the trucking industry are opposed to the measure, which will affect more than 3.5 million truck drivers. For example, the American Trucking Association argued the rule would be effective in preventing truck drivers from exploiting the current system and driving over hours in violation of federal hours of service rules, which limit how long truckers can be on the road. They argue it will even the playing field, stripping the advantage from companies who cheat the system.
The trade group says this isn’t over. They plan to press Congress in an intense lobbying effort to scrap the rule. They argue this has more to do with big business trying to squeeze out independent carriers than safety.
The federal mandate by regulators is set to go into effect in mid-December, though it’s not uncommon for such requirements to be delayed in their enforcement to provide carriers more time to comply.
Michael J. Gopin has practiced law in El Paso since 1987. Even after more than 30 years, he still remembers his first jury case. He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 1983 with a bachelor of business administration, majoring in accounting. He received his juris doctorate degree from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio. Michael has successfully handled countless cases of medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, and nursing home negligence. He enjoys helping people “get their lives back in order” by providing high-quality legal representation and compassionate customer service.