New York Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on federal officials to expedite the use of “black boxes” in trucks, as well as commercial buses following the horrific crash that killed comic James McNair and critically injured Tracy Morgan and three others, as well as another accident involving a tractor-trailer at the George Washington Bridge. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration initiated the process of requiring electronic logging devices as far back as 2010, it has been facing several legal challenges since then, and finally updated its proposal last year.
“To have a rule like this, which affects the safety of the truck drivers themselves (many of whom do not get enough sleep) and every driver on the road, languish for 4 years is just too much,” Schumer stated, adding that the “’black boxes’ would increase accountability by recording hours driven for work and decrease incentives to falsify paperwork in logbooks.”
In addition, he is calling on the US Department of Transportation to mandate a raise in the minimum liability insurance (now at $750,000 for basic transport, and $5 million for those hauling hazardous materials) for commercial trucks. Basic rates levels have not been updated since 1985.
In the meantime, Brooke Buchanan, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart stated that all their trucks have already been equipped with the electronic logging devices, including the one driven by Ken Roper, 35, involved in the Morgan crash. Roper, who said he had not slept in 24-hours prior to the accident on the New Jersey Tpke., has pleased not guilty to charges of death by auto and assault by auto.