Kaplan Lawyers PC, NYC Personal Injury Law Firm, Supports Sen. Schumer’s Call for Black Box Recorders to Log Trucker Hours

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New York law firm Kaplan Lawyers’ executive director Richard Sabatino spoke today in support of U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer’s proposed two-prong plan to keep exhausted tractor-trailer drivers off the road and in compliance with recent federal DOT rules limiting driver times.

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Instead of drivers having to keep track of their hours on their own, the black boxes will do it for them.

“We all saw the news in June,” Richard Sabatino, executive director of Kaplan Lawyers PC, a New York City personal injury law firm, said. “Tracy Morgan was seriously injured and his friend was killed when a tractor-trailer hit their bus in New Jersey. Would that accident have happened if there had been a way to electronically track the hours of rest a truck driver is required to get between driving times?”

Comedian Tracy Morgan, a Saturday Night Live veteran and star of sitcom “30 Rock,” was seriously injured in early June when a tractor-trailer plowed into his limo bus on the New Jersey Turnpike. Morgan’s good friend and fellow comedian James McNair was killed and three others injured in the crash, which also involved several other vehicles, all struck after the limo was hit. According to a June 20, 2014, CNN report, Morgan is recovering from his injuries in a rehabilitation facility. The truck driver is alleged to have been driving in a fatigued condition.

Shortly after the accident, New York’s U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer launched a two-pronged federal plan to ensure tractor-trailer drivers are getting the rest that DOT rules require—and that they have enough insurance to fully compensate their victims if an accident does occur.

Sabatino pointed out that new federal rules signed into law in 2012 required DOT to have electronic logging device (ELD) rules in place by October of 2013.

“Instead,” Sabatino said, “they’ve dragged their feet. They finally got the proposed rule out in March of this year, and then they extended the public comment time to at least the end of June. Then they’ve got to draft the final rule for approval. At this rate, like Sen. Schumer points out, drivers won’t have to have those ELDs in their trucks until at least the end of 2016.”

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 333,000 traffic crashes involving large trucks occurred in 2012, with 3,921 deaths and 104,000 injuries as a result of the crashes. Further, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concluded at the end of a 2006 study that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers were fatigued at the time of a serious crash.

“I understand the ELDs are expected to work like airplane black boxes,” said Sabatino. “Instead of drivers having to keep track of their hours on their own, the black boxes will do it for them. Not only will drivers not have to remember to record their hours—and potentially make a mistake—but it will keep dishonest drivers from fudging hours so they can be out longer on a run and make a few more dollars. Well, a few dollars can’t ever make up for a life lost because a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel.”

About Kaplan Lawyers PC

Kaplan Lawyers is a personal injury law firm that helps victims of personal injury and their families in Bronx, Queens, and Kings Counties, and throughout all of New York City. For more information on how they can help you, call them in the City at (212) 563-1900 or on Long Island at (516) 399-2364.

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