A federal judge sentenced a truck driver to 18 months in prison in connection with a 2009 multi-vehicle truck crash. The man pled guilty last year to charges related to the crash and to falsified log books. Regulators and prosecutors discovered that the man was driving his truck when federal law required him to be resting, leading to a serious accident that injured one person and killed another.
Federal regulations require truck drivers to get ten consecutive hours of rest and limit total driving hours in a day to 11 hours. The large, multi-ton vehicles can cause serious injuries and fatalities and drivers are much more likely to be involved in an accident when they are fatigued.
At the time of the accident in this case, the driver had put an entry in the log book indicating that he was resting in a different state. When the obvious discrepancy was discovered after the accident, officials examined his other entries and found 15 false entries. Along with the 18 month sentence, the driver will also pay fines.
The United States Department of Transportation says that the logbooks are one element of a regulation scheme that is designed to keep the public safe and reduce trucking accidents.
Fatigue is a problem for commercial drivers in many different industries, and has recently gotten a lot of attention as more instances of accidents resulting from fatigue are discovered. Regulators are continuing to press both drivers and employers to comply strictly with rest requirements to avoid accidents and other errors.
Source: NBC, "Truck Driver Sentenced for Falsifying Log Books: Investigators," David Chang, May 7, 2012.