Rule on Electronic Logs for Truckers
After years of negotiations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has adopted a final rule on required electronic logging devices (ELD). In this post, we will update you on this development and why it is important in investigating truck driver accidents.
What electronic logging devices record
By December 18, 2017, ELD devices will be required for all truckers operating in the United States. ELDs will also be required for bus drivers who currently use paper logs. The devices will automatically record not only driving time but also other information. The other information includes mileage covered, locations visited, and hours that the engine was in use.
Many trucking companies have already been using ELDs voluntarily. But the new rule will make their use mandatory and standardize the requirements. Companies that are already using a previous electronic system, called automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) will be grandfathered in under the new rule until December 16, 2019.
The rule is very detailed because there are various technological platforms that can potentially be used to comply with it. Smartphones are one of those potential platforms, as are other devices.
Truckers don’t all agree about the value or fairness of the new rule. The American Trucking Association has long advocated for an ELD rule. But the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has long opposed federal efforts to require ELDs.
OOIDSA has expressed concern that ELDs could be used to bully or harass drivers. The FMCSA says the new rule responds to those concerns, such as by having a mute button on the device to prevent a driver in the sleeping birth from being awakened. There is an exemption from the rule for trucks with the model year of 2000 or earlier. Those trucks don’t have the electronic engine systems needed to be compatible with ELD.
Truck driver accidents
Federal regulators estimate that the ELD rule will save 26 lives a year. It should also prevent 562 injuries. But there are still far too many crashes caused by commercial vehicles. And when the commercial vehicles are large, those accidents are often truly terrible. If you or your family have been affected by a truck driver accident, it’s important to find a skilled legal advocate in whom to place your trust. Talking this through will help verify that your rights are respected.