New York Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the federal Department of Transportation to require commercial drivers to install black boxes inside their trucks to track the number of hours they are on the road.
Electronic logging devices are a more accurate way to track driving hours and will save lives, Schumer said on Sunday. While truckers are limited to 70 hours of driving per week, paper logbooks are easily falsified.
"We know that fatigue is a huge issue in terms of the number of crashes, and you can't rely on companies to set the rules themselves, because they're going to be competitive," Schumer said. "So we need rules that set a level playing field."
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration suggested black boxes on trucks in 2010, but the DOT has not forced drivers or companies to install them.
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The National Transportation Safety Board reported 333,000 crashes involving large trucks in 2012. Those crashes resulted in 3,921 deaths and more than 104,000 injuries.
Schumer cited the June 7 crash in New Jersey involving comic Tracy Morgan, which killed 62-year-old comedian James McNair.
Prosecutors have charged the Walmart truck driver who rear-ended the comedians’ Mercedes limo, Kevin Roper, for going more than 24 hours without sleep.
"To have a rule like this, which affects the safety of the truck drivers themselves and every motorist on the road, languish for four years, is just too much," Schumer said. "So I say to the federal Motor Carrier Administration, get it done and get it done now."