The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) made a proposal last month that would require commercial truck and bus companies to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in their vehicles. The proposal is made in an effort to improve compliance with the safety rules that dictate the number of hours a driver can work.
In interstate truck and bus crashes, the drivers often exceed the limits on work hours. According to FMCSA analysis, driver impairment, which includes fatigue, was a factor in more than 12 percent of the 129,120 total crashes that involved large trucks or buses in 2012. The proposed rule is expected to prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year for an annual safety benefit of $394.8 million.
Sometimes it’s the practice of drivers or their employers to alter paper logbooks or keep a separate set of books, thereby concealing their driving practices from inspectors. The use of ELDs would make it increasingly difficult for drivers to misrepresent their hours and would help reduce crashes by fatigued drivers.
Safety advocates have been pushing the use of ELDs for some time, and although it can take months or even years before proposed regulations such as this are made final, it is a virtuous step toward safety advancement. We support any proposal that saves lives. The use of these electronic logging devices should reduce the number of fatigued truck drivers on the roadway. That will go a long way in protecting our roadways.
Chris Glover, a lawyer in our firm’s Personal Injury/Products Liability Section, has handled a large number of lawsuits involving commercial trucks. If you need more information on this subject, contact him at 800-898-2034 or by email at Chris.Glover@beasleyallen.com.
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