New Electronic Logs May Help Prevent Truck Driver Fatigue

Truck accidentTo prevent trucking accidents due to truck driver fatigue, federal regulations are requiring commercial trucking companies to install electronic logging devices in all commercial trucks by the end of 2017. Logs will record mandated driving and rest times without possible driver alterations. If an accident occurs, a Chicago truck accident attorney can ensure that proper documentation is provided.

Falsification of Current Paper Logs

For years, various problems with existing paper logs have been a concern for federal regulators. There are numerous reports by the U.S. Department of Transportation that allege falsified or altered log entries by truck drivers following trucking accidents across the country. Federal regulators claim that paper logs are often altered after an accident to cover up a truck driver’s violation of mandated federal safety rules. Federal regulators and the trucking industry have argued in favor of electronic logging devices in commercial trucks for many years, stating that electronic logs would automatically track a truck’s movements without the driver’s ability to alter or falsify log entries. They would keep drivers honest about driving time, rest time, and trip details and progression. In Illinois, electronic logs would ensure accuracy of entries and compliance with federal trucking regulations and prevent false accident and injury claims from being filed with a Chicago truck accident attorney.

Electronic Logging Devices

Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a new rule that requires interstate commercial bus and trucking companies to install Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in all vehicles. The FMCSA states that new electronic logging devices will improve the quality of hours-of-service data and help reduce accidents by fatigued drivers. The new rule provides provisions that would:

  • Protect drivers’ privacy by making ELD records available only to law enforcement and FMCSA officials during compliance reviews, roadside inspections and post-crash investigations.
  • Protect drivers from harassment and complaints, and provides an $11,000 maximum civil penalty for any motor carrier that engages in harassment of a driver.
  • Increase efficiency for law enforcement and inspectors who review ELD records.

New electronic logging devices are expected to prevent over 500 injuries and 25 fatalities each year and create an annual safety benefit of $395 million. The new rule will take effect by December 2017. Trucking companies and owner/drivers currently using paper logs will have until December 2019 to install electronic logging devices in their vehicles.