Truck Drivers Forced to Falsify Logsby Jana Ritter - Published: 7/30/2014
With a number of recent fatal truck accidents caused by fatigued drivers who were charged with falsifying their driving logs, the issue has launched a whole new investigation about employers pressuring truck drivers to break the rules. According to two CBS investigators, a number of truck drivers are coming forward and revealing that they’ve not only been pressured but also coerced to falsify their driving records by some companies seeing it as a way to cut costs.
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Last month, after one such accident involved a tractor-trailer that collided with a vehicle injuring high profile celebrity Tracy Morgan and killing one of the passengers (fellow comedian James McNair), the issue of fatigued truck drivers re-ignited national attention. The truck’s driver, Kevin Roper, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and prosecutors alleged Roper hadn’t slept in more than 24 hours. But although the National Transportation Safety Board then came out with a report that that Roper had been working just within the legal limit of 14 hours, last week’s I-55 crash that killed four innocent people only fueled the investigation into falsified driver records.
Kelvin Mathews is one such driver that told CBS he got caught in a bad predicament when he worked as the safety and operational director for Brave Lines Trucking Company in Mundelein. He says the owner there pressured truck drivers to work longer than the federal regulations allow and would often ask Mathews would to manipulate the log book in case they got audited. Another driver who wished to remain anonymous says he gave into the pressure a few times being told that he’d be charged the hundreds it would cost the company if he didn’t. When he simply refused to drive longer than the federal regulations allow, he was immediately fired.
Such companies are already on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s watch list because of the high number of violations involving drivers working longer than the hours allowed and vehicle maintenance problems. Now the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is turning its focus on further penalizing these carriers, shippers and manufacturers from coercing drivers to violate federal regulations. “If there are decisions being made to force the drivers to violate the rules those that are forcing those decisions need to be held accountable for those decisions,” said Stephen Keppler of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
In order to solve the issue, it’s important for people to realize that truckers don’t drive for dangerously long stretches because they enjoy it. They do it because they have to earn a living just like everyone else and unfortunately the current industry isn’t set up to be a win-win situation for everyone.There needs to be a system that addresses the real root of the issue – money.