New Law Requires Truckers to Keep Electronic Logs

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In December of 2015, a new law was put into place that will change the way truckers log drive time and rest breaks. The rule, which requires truckers to use an electronic logging system, is expected to save an estimated 26 lives and prevent approximately 562 serious injuries caused by large trucks each year. Although truckers have been required to maintain paper logs that keep track of drivers’ rest breaks and hours on the road since the 1930s, these types of logs are easily tampered with and a significant number of serious and fatal large truck accidents still occur due to driver fatigue.

Since the required technology, referred to as an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is expected to affect about 3 million large truck and bus drivers on America’s roadways, it is imperative that the trucking industry is well informed about the facts surrounding ELDs.

What Truckers Should Know About ELDs

An electronic logging device uses tamper-proof technology to strengthen truck drivers’ compliance with regulations regarding hours of service and required rest breaks in order to help prevent truck accidents caused by driver fatigue. Commercial drivers who are currently required to maintain a Record of Duty Status have until December of 2017 to begin using electronic logging devices to record their hours behind the wheel. There are a variety of technical and performance specifications that the ELDs must feature, but those who have already begun using ELDs that do not meet the new requirements will be “grandfathered in”, and will have until December 2019 to comply with the new regulations.

While there is some debate throughout the trucking industry regarding the pros and cons surrounding electronic logging devices, large truck accident lawyers in Tennessee know that the true benefits brought forth by the technology are undeniable.

  • ELDs will make it easier for roadside safety inspectors to identify Hours of Service (HOS) violations that put lives at risk.
  • According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the use of ELDs will save each trucker an estimated $705 per year in paperwork costs alone.
  • Recent research indicates that drivers who used ELDs saw a significant reduction in total crash rate (11.7%) when compared with truckers who used paper logs.

According to Scott Darling, FMCSA Acting Administrator, “Employing technology to ensure that commercial drivers comply with federal hours-of-service rules will prevent crashes and save lives.”