Federal Court Decision Emphasizes Widespread Problems with Commercial Trucking Time Logs.

The New Mexico federal court’s ruling in Tom vs SB Inc. denied the defendants’ requests to enter evidence of adjustments they had made to the time logging practices that their semi-truck drivers used. This ruling demonstrates that many commercial semi-truck drivers fail to keep the required time logs, and even when they keep a time log, the logs often include dishonest or inaccurate information.

logbook-338505-m.jpgThe Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, a relative of the plaintiff was killed in an accident with a truck driven by an employee of the defendant trucking company. After the accident and death of the plaintiff’s loved one, the trucking company wanted to introduce evidence that they have improved their time logging practices since the accident (this is a unique situation, as defendants usually want to exclude evidence that they fixed a problem after an accident that was allegedly their fault). Apparently the defendants wanted the jury to see that they shouldn’t be tacked with punitive damages because they fixed a problem when they found out about it.

The Court’s Opinion

Under Federal Rule of Evidence 407, plaintiffs are excluded from introducing evidence of remedial measures taken by a defendant after the alleged accident occurred. In this case, the defendants wanted to introduce the evidence and the plaintiffs were using Rule 407 to prevent them to. The Court here actually sided with the defendants in deciding that the Rule 407 exception only applies when a plaintiff want to introduce evidence and a defendant refuses.

The Court ended up excluding the evidence anyway, using Federal Rule of Evidence 403’s relevance test. Because the addition of the corrected time logs may have confused the jury as to which logs were from before or after the accident. Although the Court’s evidentiary ruling is interesting, the most important point to be taken from this case is that semi-truck drivers often fail to properly keep required time logs, and as a result of that failure, get into accidents.

Semi-Truck Rest Log Fraud

Commercial semi-truck drivers are not permitted to drive more than a certain number of hours at a time or in a specified period. In order to make more money, many drivers “cook their books” and put dishonest information into their time logs. Studies have shown that drowsy or distracted truck driving, the kind that occurs when truck drivers drive more hours than permitted under state and federal regulations, substantially increases the likelihood of causing an accident. With so many truckers failing to keep accurate time logs, semi-truck drivers end up being involved in many accidents. Often these accidents are the result of the drivers working too many hours, and they can sometimes be proven by an expert’s look into the defendant driver’s time log.

Are You in Need of a New Mexico Personal Injury Attorney?

If you have been injured in an accident with a semi-truck, and are looking for a New Mexico personal injury attorney, look no further than the Fine Law Firm and call today. Our accident attorneys know where to look for the best evidence when there is a semi-truck accident, and they have the dedication needed to make every decision in a manner that is best for their clients. Call today and schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with a personalized advocate. Call the Fine Law Firm at (505) 889-3463 or contact us through our website.

More Blog Posts:

New Mexico Driver Gets Wedged Under Semi-Truck and Dragged onto Railroad Tracks, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2014.

Utah Woman Hit By Semi Truck As She Crosses the Street, New Mexico Truck Accident Lawyer Blog, March 4, 2014.