It’s no secret that a tractor – 80,000 pounds and for that reason, the truck driver and the trucking company are regulated to protect the motoring public. The governmental entity that promulgates and enforces truck safety regulations is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
One of the ways that the FMCSA protects the public is by regulating the hours a truck driver can work and drive a commercial vehicle. These rules are known as “hours of service” and provide that a truck driver may drive at maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours of duty. Additionally, a driver may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty. These safety rules are intended to prevent fatigued drivers from causing an accident when they should not be behind the wheel.
Truck drivers are required to keep daily logs showing the time they have spent on duty and behind the wheel. Unfortunately, it is relatively easy for drivers to cheat on their logs and drive far more than the hours they were permitted behind the wheel. In a recent commercial vehicle accident case, we handled, the driver falsified his logs and was only caught after we downloaded data from the onboard computer that showed the driver drove over the hours of service.
Fraudulent logging is a common occurrence in the trucking industry. It is difficult for the motor carrier to police their drivers when the documentation is paper created by the driver. However, the FMCSA has promulgated a new rule called the Electronic Logging Devices rule which mandates that trucking companies transition to electronic recording of driver’s hours of service.
The rule is phased-in depending on the method that the carrier uses for record-keeping of duty status of their drivers. Trucking companies who are using the old paper logs must transition to the electronic logging device before December 18, 2017. Companies who were using electronic compliance must transition their fleet to the ELDs on or before December 16, 2019.
While there is an expense to the trucking companies for installation of the new equipment, the electronic logging device will create a much safer environment for drivers and the public and allow for very accurate tracking and management of the duty status records.
ELD’s also track location and are required to be registered to verify their accuracy. By transitioning to electronic record keeping, companies can keep track of their driver’s hours of service in “real-time”. This new rule will greatly cut down the cheating that has become so prevalent on driver’s paper logs. And it will be much easier for a company to catch a driver driving past his allotted hours.
Further, manufacturers or providers of electronic logging devices must certify and register their devices with the federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The certification includes that the ELD meets the technical specifications of the new rule.
Undoubtedly, this new rule will save lives and the FMCSA estimates that over 1800 wrecks will be avoided each year and more than 26 lives will be saved by the implementation of this rule.
If you have been injured in a truck accident make sure the lawyer you seek to hire knows the new ELD rules.
Call us for a no obligation consultation – 281-893-0760.