By: Allan M. Siegel
A new government rule designed to prevent driver fatigue will now require
truck and bus drivers to electronically record their hours behind the
wheel. The rule, which was released just two weeks ago by the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), addresses problems with drivers
evading restrictions by manipulating paper logs, or by keeping two separate
logs. Now, electronic logging devices (ELDs) will automatically record
time truckers spend driving by monitoring the following:
- Vehicle movement
- Engine hours
- Location information
- Miles driven
Truck accidents are responsible for more than 3,500 deaths every year,
many of which result from exhausted drivers who fail to take adequate
rest breaks. This new automated technology is expected to aid roadside
safety inspectors in uncovering violations that put lives at risk, and
is slated to provide a net savings of approximately $1 billion per year
by eliminating paperwork. Most importantly, the devices are expected to
prevent more than 560 injuries and roughly 26 deaths annually.
Drivers who use time cards to record their hours, tow truck drivers, and
those who drive buses and trucks older than model year 2000 are exempt
from this rule. Drivers from Mexico and Canada who operate on U.S. roads
will be required to use the new electronic logging system.
The rule goes into effect within the next two months, and companies will
have two years to comply. Smart phones and other wireless devices that
can be used to record hours may be acceptable under certain circumstances
and pending the approval of the FMCSA.
Critics have called the new rule expensive and unnecessary, and feel that
the expense will only exacerbate the trucking industry’s massive
shortage of drivers. However, many more feel this regulation is long overdue
and expect a positive impact on safety. As we’ve seen in many cases,
including that of
Tracy Morgan’s 18-wheeler crash, truck driver fatigue can have devastating consequences. Preventing the
problem should be everyone’s concern.
a Washington DC truck accident lawyer at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, Siegel,
P.C. to discuss your legal options after a truck accident.