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Schumer: More to be done to keep tired truckers off roads
Senator Chuck Schumer says a recent crash, that injured comedian Tracy Morgan, shows more needs to be done to keep tired truck drivers off the road. He said he has sent a letter to the Department of Transportation asking for a rule, requiring electronic logging devices in interstate trucks, to be sped up.
At a busy truck stop in Duanesburg, James Maynard was taking a break from driving cross country. He showed CBS6 the electronic logging device the company he works for installed to help him track how long he's been driving. That way he knows when to stop for a rest break.
"You can't cheat or lie on them, the company can't force you to go over them," he said.
Senator Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) said Sunday that he wants all interstate trucks to have electronic monitoring devices in them as soon as possible. The Department of Transportation has already proposed a rule requiring that, but it hasn't been made final yet. Senator Schumer said the timeline needs to be sped up. He also said that paper logs that some companies still use are more susceptible to manipulation.
"This country is all about being independent and free, but that's not working out for the little drivers like us," said Kulwant Singh, a truck driver.
Singh said he owns his own truck company. He said the cost of installing the device, then paying to have it monitored will hurt. He doesn't think drivers need to be monitored that closely.
"It's going to hurt for everybody," he said.
Tom Alverson is the Director of Training for All Star Tractor Trailer Training in Albany. He said that many companies are already making the switch to electronic logging systems. He said that by law, drivers can drive 11 hours over a 14 hour day. Then they are required to take a ten hour break for sleep. The electronic logging devices keep track of the time and warn drivers when their time is almost up. If they go over that time, an alert is sent to the truck company.
Even with the technology, Alverson said he teaches students that safety is their responsibility too.
You have to be safe, you have to pull over, you have to get your rest, he said.
Maynard agrees. He said that he always listens to his body, even if a few hours into driving, he needs a nap.
There's nothing in this trailer or truck worth killing someone over for an extra 30 minutes, said Maynard.
Senator Schumer also wants DOT to look at insurance coverage that truck companies have and if necessary, bump required coverage up. Many of the drivers CBS6 spoke with said they pay a lot in insurance already.