Call For A Consultation (202) 644-8303
Our Blogs

Truck Drivers Now Required to Log Hours Electronically

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

Washington, DC Truck Accident LawyerTruck 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.

Contact a Washington DC truck accident lawyer at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, Siegel, P.C. to discuss your legal options after a truck accident.