An accident in 2003 involving a van that swerved across Highway 30 near Chelsea killing three motorcyclists, has spawned a change in regulations for van drivers. The driver of the van, 48-year-old Gary Butler, allegedly fell asleep behind the wheel of the empty van. Mike Winfrey of the Department of Transportation says that accident led to the change that will require people hired to drive vans with seven or less passengers to keep a log book.
He says the log book lets officers view immediately the number of hours a driver has been behind the wheel. Winfrey says without the log book, officers have to conduct a review at the driver’s place of business. Winfrey is the director of the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division, and says the rule doesn’t include things like school or church vans.
Winfrey says it covers only “for hire” vehicles, and if the vans are just used to move people from activity to activity, it wouldn’t apply. Winfrey says the driver faces losing their job if they don’t have the log book. Winfrey says the penalty would be around 47 dollars, but he says the bigger penalty would take the driver out of service and they would not be allowed to continue to drive. The new rule was approved by the transportation commission Tuesday and will take effect in February.