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Companies Using Illegal Tactics to Circumvent Federal Laws, According to Wisconsin Television Station
DALLAS (May 28, 2015) – A Wisconsin television station investigating the trucking industry recently reported that many trucking companies are forcing their drivers to circumvent federal laws limiting the number of hours drivers work per week, the national law firm of Baron & Budd reports. The station, WLUK-TV in Green Bay, Wisc., alleges that drivers are being ordered to alter logbooks in order to be able to keep their jobs.
Federal law mandates the number of hours that a driver is allowed to work behind the wheel each week in an effort to reduce the number of accidents resulting from fatigued drivers. Commercial drivers are limited to shifts not exceeding 14 hours per day, and may only drive a total of 11 hours. After those 11 hours, drivers must then be off-duty for 10 consecutive hours.
However, drivers interviewed by the station said their employers order them to alter logbooks to show they have complied with federal regulations. These handwritten sheets are turned in to the U.S. Department of Transportation in order to verify drivers have worked the proper number of hours.
They are forced to drive longer hours so that their employers can make more money, the station reports.
An officer with the Wisconsin State Patrol told the station that only 100 employees across the state are responsible for inspecting the thousands of trucks that travel on state roads every day. The officer said those inspections routinely uncover instances where drivers have been behind the wheel far too long.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that nearly 4,000 people died in crashes involving trucks and other commercial vehicles in 2013. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, about 750 people die each year in accidents attributed to fatigued commercial vehicle drivers.
“This epidemic caused by corporate greed has got to stop,” said Russell Budd, president and managing shareholder of the national law firm of Baron & Budd. “We fully support efforts underway to make the electronic monitoring of truck drivers mandatory to eliminate the practice of falsifying logbooks.”
The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Austin and Los Angeles, is a nationally recognized law firm with a nearly 40-year history of "Protecting What’s Right" for people, communities and businesses harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd’s size and resources enable the firm to take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals and government and business entities in areas as diverse as dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices, environmental contamination, the Gulf oil spill, financial fraud, overtime violations, deceptive advertising, automotive defects, trucking accidents, nursing home abuse, and asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.