According to Trucks.com, the trucking industry is slowly learning to adjust to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) law effective December 2017 that requires truckers to use digital electronic logging devices (ELDs) to track the hours they drive.
The FMCSA requires drivers to monitor their hours because driver fatigue is known to cause numerous truck accidents and fatalities. Tired drivers don’t have control of their trucks. They are likely to veer into other lanes of traffic. Fatigued drivers can’t respond to emergencies in a timely manner.
The FMCSA mandates that truckers cannot drive more than 11 hours during a 14-hour or more day. Drivers who reach the 11-hour limit must take at least 10 hours off. There are also limits on how many hours a truck driver can operate a truck during a standard work week. The laws are aimed at forcing drivers and truck companies to put the safety of the public ahead of the profit of more deliveries. Drivers and truck companies face substantial fines if they fail to keep proper logs. Worse, they are increasing the possibility someone may lose his or her life or suffer serious physical and emotional harm in a truck accident.
How the new ELD requirements are working
The FMCSA claims that hours-of-service violations are fewer since the ELD requirement went into effect. The December rate for roadside inspection violations was 1.2% compared to just .7% for the four months reviewed in 2018. The violation rate for May 2018 was almost half that of May 2017. The director of the FMCSA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance says that compliance is very high.
Drivers reported that the ELD logs are helping to force truck companies to obey the FMCSA rules. With paper logs, drivers were told they should cheat – that there ways around the paper logs.
Some in the truck industry find the ELD switch from paper troubling. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is firmly opposed to the rule change. Its legal challenge was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2018. The OOIDA claims that ELDs actually make safety worse by making drivers constantly aware that they’re “pressed for time.”
Some truck drivers say the ELD devices don’t work well technically – that the time data isn’t being transferred properly. Some say the ELD information is inaccurate. Drivers also state they need to finish their shift earlier to find a place to park which takes a lot of time.
Other truck drivers claim the ELD devices are actually saving time.
An exception for livestock drivers
The ELD devices don’t apply to every driver. There is an exception for livestock drivers. According to the Plains/Midwest AG Journal, efforts are being made to extend the current September 2018 exemption for livestock truck drivers to September 2019. The FMCSA is listening to concerns by livestock haulers that drivers should be allowed to drive up to 12 or 14 hours on duty, that the 30-minute mandatory break for drivers who drive eight hours in a row should be revised, and that other changes should be made.
Truck accidents are usually much more serious and deadly than car accidents. The size, weight, and dimensions of large trucks and semis makes the trucks harder to control. The impact of a truck accident is much greater than a car accident. The Memphis truck accident attorneys at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, fight to hold all responsible parties – drivers, truck companies, and others – accountable. We are respected across Tennessee for our dedication, skill, and persuasive abilities. For help with a truck accident in Memphis, Jackson, West Tennessee, or nearby, please contact us. You can phone us at 901-475-7434 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.