In December 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the adoption of the final rule that will require electronic logging devices (ELD) for the commercial truck and bus industries. The ELD final rule will employ technology to strengthen truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations. These rules exist to prevent fatigued, tired, drivers from being behind the wheel. The electronic devices will replace the old pencil-and-paper logs. Accurate hours-of-service data will be recorded on these devices, and roadside safety inspectors will be able to check immediately whether or not violations of federal laws are occurring on a particular vehicle.
Hours of Service Violations and Driver Fatigue
Because driver fatigue is so dangerous, the federal safety regulations that limit the number of hours that commercial truck and bus drivers can be on-duty and still drive. There are also limits on the number of hours one can spend behind the wheel. Studies have shown that he effects of prolonged wakefulness and fatigue is similar to the effects of alcohol use. The electronic logging device records a variety of important data including driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven and location information to ensure compliance with these important hours-of-service regulations.
Saving Lives with Electronic Logging Devices
The FMCSA estimates that on an annual average basis, the ELD final rule will save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries. Since driver fatigue is considered an underreported factor in large truck crashes, it’s quite possible that these numbers are conservative. Although, there is an initial expense for the technological upgrade, in the long run, the ELD rule will result in an annual net benefit of $1 billion or more.
Concerns About ELD Certification
While the requirement of Electronic Logging Devices is certainly a huge step in the right direction, there are still some concerns about implementation. For example, under the new rule, the ELD must be certified. Unfortunately, the certification is based on an honor system, which means that all an ELD manufacturer or vender has to do is go to the website and “self-certify.” This apparent loophole in the new ELD rule could leave the door open for mistakes, errors or even deliberate abuses.
If you or somebody you love has been injured in a truck accident around Boise or elsewhere in Idaho, contact Kurt Holzer at Hepworth Holzer, LLP at (208) 343-7510 for a free case review and evaluation.