One of the things you do when handling a trucking case, whether as a plaintiff or a defense lawyer, is to audit the drivers logs to determine if the driver was over hours and driving in a fatigued state. I have blogged on fatigued driving extensively in the past. A key in auditing logs is to get all of the supporting documents (see FMCSR 395.8 (k)(1)(Question 10)) federal regulations require a trucking company to keep. These documents "support" the driver’s logs by showing where the driver/truck was at a specific time.
E-ZPass – One of the most overlooked supporting documents is the information found in E-ZPass data. E-ZPass is an electronic device that records when and where a truck passes through a toll plaza.
Currently E-ZPass data is available in the following states:
- West Virginia
- New Jersey
- New York
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
Other states have similar devices for toll plazas within their state. For example Georgia has Peach Pass and Florida has SunPass.
PrePass – PrePass is another electronic device that helps determine the location of a truck at a given date and time. PrePass allows trucks to bypass weigh stations by electronically transmitting a truck’s license number, motor carrier identification, and weight to the weigh station so the truck doesn’t have to stop.
According to a recent report there are 435,000 trucks in the PrePass system and 123,000 trucks in the E-ZPass system. Each of these trucks has an electronic record that will help put them at a specific place and time. Once that is done you can compare the data to what is shown in the driver’s logs to determine if his truck was moving while the driver claimed he was sleeping.
These PrePass and E-ZPass records should be obtained in almost every case and help lawyers and trucking companies properly audit a truck driver’s logs. Any trucking company that fails to use this data in auditing a driver’s logs doesn’t care whether its drivers violate the HOS regulations and is placing the public – you and me – at risk.