Back in December 2017, a federal requirement that all 18-wheeler trucks nationwide be installed with an electronic logging device (ELD) went into effect. While the law was in a “soft enforcement” period, April 1st saw full implementation of this federal mandate. This means truck drivers, fleet owners, and trucking companies can now face stiff penalties including having vehicles and drivers be placed out of service.
The aim of the new ELD rule, as required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is to improve road safety and prevent driver fatigue – which can both lead to serious or even fatal commercial truck traffic accidents.
At J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys, we’ve seen innocent people and their families deal with the catastrophic aftermath of being involved in a commercial trucking accident. We know how often these companies and their drivers are willing to deny responsibility. Thankfully, this ELD rule will bring new transparency and improve roadside safety.
Why Do We Need This ELD Rule?
The ELDs will replace traditional paper logs, which often contain falsified information that essentially allows truckers to drive more hours than they were legally able to. Now, these new systems will be able to electronically track key data points such as the number of hours a trucker drives, location, miles driven, and whether a truck engine is running or not. They will also make it easier for safety officials to obtain and check data for compliance.
The FMCSA believes this new rule will not only provide commercial drivers improved protection against harassment from industry standards that encourage driving exceedingly long hours but that it will also help to curb bad driving behaviors caused by excessive work.
This is especially true of sleep deprivation.
Due to hectic schedules and work pressures, truck drivers often work more than what they are legally allowed to in order to meet business requirements. Prior to the implementation of the new ELD rule, drivers could track data through handwritten logs. Of course, these were manipulated and often included breaks that never occurred.
While the FMCSA had previously attempted to regulate “hours of service” through mandates that include taking a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of driving, drivers not being allowed to drive more than 14 consecutive hours, and mandatory 10-hour breaks, paper logs made it very easy for truck drivers and companies to bypass these laws.
In reality, drivers under stress, lacking rest, and handling an 80,000-pound semi-truck can quickly become dangerous to others on the road.
But not anymore.
Turning a New Corner
While companies and drivers have argued against the legislation, proponents of the law have countered that there has been plenty of time for carriers to transition. As previously mentioned, while the law came into play on December 18, 2017, officials provided additional months for carriers to get into compliance. Additionally, companies who were using electronic systems already have until December 2019 to transition to ELDs.
Though there are some expenses related to the purchasing and installation of the new equipment, government reports indicate that the ELDs will help reduce hours-of-service violations by as much as 50% while also decreasing crash rates across the nation. Regulators believe the rule will be able to prevent hundreds of accidents and injuries, as well as dozens of fatalities, per year.
J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys are Here for You When You’ve Been Involved in a Commercial Truck Accident in McAllen or the Greater Rio Grande Valley.
We understand that after a brutal accident with a massive commercial vehicle, you may not have the energy to fight. Your primary focus should undoubtedly be on getting back to your healthy self, but while you are regaining your strength and recovering, let J. Gonzalez Injury Attorneys fight your legal battles.