Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted a federal mandate that will require most long-haul drivers to use digital logbooks by the end of 2017. These electronic logging devices (ELDs) will replace paper log books that can be easily altered, as they are written by hand. Many are excited for this change, hoping that it will decrease driver fatigue and accidents caused by an industry that generally pays per mile.
Though a wide variety of variables contribute to trucking accidents, driver fatigue plays a large part in many devastating accidents nationwide. Because truckers are typically paid by the mile, many give into the temptation to incorrectly enter their driving times into their log, or change incriminating information before turning the logs in.
Take a look at current hours-of-service regulations by the FMCSA:
- The driver has a maximum 11-hour driving limit (after 10 consecutive off-duty hours).
- The driver may only drive for 60-70 hours within 7-8 consecutive days.
- The consecutive driving period may only restart after 34+ off-duty hours.
ELDs will increase truck driver supervision, motivating many to adhere to federal laws concerning trucking hours. ELDs will also make highway enforcement officials' jobs easier, providing permanent records of the trucker’s driving.
Though ELDs, similar to EOBRs, are widely supported, opponents are concerned that the installation of the devices will be too costly for many small trucking companies, who are responsible for the majority of the nation’s freight. In 2013 and 2014, the FMCSA inspected companies with a history of logbook violations and ordered drivers to either install ELDs or shut down. Approximately 2,000 small business left the industry. Though the mandated ELDs will impact the trucking industry, the FMCSA estimates it will also greatly impact national safety. The devices are projected to prevent approximately 1,850 crashes and 26 fatalities per year in the U.S.
Injured By Drowsy Driving? Call a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer.
If you were injured in a truck accident involving a fatigued driver, protect your right to compensation by contacting a Houston truck accident attorney from Arnold & Itkin. Our skilled team can perform a thorough investigation of your accident circumstances to determine if the truck driver was operating within the legal limits of his driving time.
Contact our firm today to discuss your case.