Could Trucking Accidents be Reduced with Electronic Logging Devices?

A year ago, Electronic Logging Devices became federally mandated in every commercial trucking vehicle. Unlike paper logs, these electronic devices keep perfect track of how long truck drivers operate behind the wheel. This prevents unscrupulous trucking companies and drivers from altering the written log books and violating federal law. Currently, the law mandates that drivers are only allowed to operate for 11 of 14 hours before taking a 10-hour break. Do they work or do they cause more problems?

The Federal Mandate

Many trucking companies encourage their drivers to drive long hours in order to increase their profits. As a result, many truck drivers altered their log books to match federal law, even if they routinely drove overtime. In 2012, Congress passed the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill which outlined funding for highway and included a provision that required the FMCSA to adopt a rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices. In 2015. The FMCSA finalized this rule in 2015 and trucking companies had until December of 2017 to comply with this law.

The Good

The ELDs make it impossible for drivers and trucking companies to break the law and it precisely counts the amount of time a truck driver is behind the wheel. This means less fatigued drivers and hopefully fewer trucking accidents. For some truckers, this has been a welcome change and one that has made them safer drivers. In fact, over the first nine months, hours-of-service violations decreased by 48%. Yet not everyone agrees that ELDs have been helpful.

The Bad

Some truckers have claimed that they have lost money because of these ELDs. Since the devices track total time behind the wheel, they are being tracked even while waiting for a shipment to be loaded. Since many truckers only get paid per mile driven, this has cut into their paychecks. Other drivers have said that they routinely find themselves speeding to “beat the clock” before they are forced to take a rest break. Trucking companies have criticized the devices and the mandate for affecting their profits and making it more difficult to deliver goods on time.

Proposed Future Changes

Like most new mandates, there are some areas of improvement. The FMCSA is using the ELDs to help them formulate ideas to update the hours-of-services regulations. Since the ELDs track time – even time spent in traffic – this has cost the trucking industry over $74.5 billion. To help this, one proposed change may be to change the mandatory 10-hour rest break into two different sections. This would allow drivers to take advantage of driving times that were outside of rush-hour. Dropping the 30 minutes rest breaks is also something that could change in the future.

Contact a Daytona Beach Trucking Accident Lawyer Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in a trucking accident, time is critical. You need to collect the information on the ELDs, as well as the black box data before it is lost or destroyed.  At Zimmet & Zimmet, our experienced Daytona Beach trucking accident lawyers can investigate your accident and collect the evidence needed to build your case. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and review of your case. Call 386-255-6400 or fill out our confidential contact form and someone will call you back!

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