Category Archives: Driving

Ending Distracted Driving: Federal Guidelines Proposed For Automakers

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distracted truckerToday’s post comes to us from our colleague Jon Gelman of New Jersey. It highlights the actions the Federal government is taking to eliminate the scourge of distracted driving-related injuries and fatalities.

After years of accidents in the workplace caused by the use of mobile devices in vehicles, the Federal government today proposed universal guidelines to encourage automobile manufacturers to electronically disable these devices when a vehicle is in operation.  The enforcement of this safety-first proposal may establish a legal standard to universally bar the use of such devices in vehicles and encourage employees to have a safer working environment.

See: U.S. Department of Transportation Proposes ‘Distraction’ Guidelines for Automakers
“Issued by the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the guidelines would establish specific recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured that require visual or manual operation by drivers. The announcement of the guidelines comes just days after President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request, which includes $330 million over six years for distracted driving programs that increase awareness of the issue and encourage stakeholders to take action. “

Feds To Ban Truckers From Using (Hand-Held) Cell Phones

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Cell Phones Usage For Commercial Interstate Drivers to be BannedToday’s post comes to us from our colleague Jon Gelman of New Jersey. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing to restrict the use of hand-held mobile telephones, including hand-held cell phones, by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) while operating in interstate commerce. Cell phones have become a major cause of distracted driving accidents resulting in an increase of workers’ compensation claims by employees as well as liability lawsuits against employers directly. This federal rule would be in addition to the many states which already ban hand-held cell phone use.

The following is a summary of the proposed rule: “FMCSA and PHMSA are amending Continue reading

New Workers’ Comp Travel Reimbursement Rates Go Into Effect

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The current workers’ comp reimbursement rate is $.55.5 per mile.

Effective July 1, 2011, the Nebraska mileage reimbursement rate for travel while on workers’ compensation became 55.5 cents per mile. This is for travel to seek medical treatment, pick up medications, or while participating in a vocational rehabilitation plan. This conforms to the reimbursement rate paid to State of Nebraska employees.

As the economy continues to struggle and money is tight, injured workers should make sure to keep track of their miles of travel so they can be reimbursed for their out of pocket expenses.

Make sure to keep track of miles to be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses.

Travel reimbursement is limited to agreed upon or court approved treatment and some limitations may apply. If you have a question about what workers’ compensation benefits are due to you, contact an attorney.

Cell phone ban for commercial drivers could affect truckers’ workers’ compensation claims

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On Tuesday the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a recommendation that could affect millions of truckers. The NTSB proposed that commercial drivers be banned from using both hand-held and hands-free mobile phones while driving on the job.

While the NTSB is a U.S. government organization, their recommendation is not a law. However the board’s actions may prompt local, state, and federal governments to pass laws that make driving while talking on the phone illegal, even if the driver is on a hands-free device.

If such a law were passed, and a commercial driver is using a cell phone while in an accident, in certain cases the driver would be unable to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

In Nebraska, and in some other states, a law banning the use of cell phones could affect the ability of truckers to collect workers’ compensation. Continue reading