Many truckers are not happy about new federal rules that require them to keep track of the hours they work using an electronic-logging device (ELD).
The ELD requirement, which went into effect in December, is designed to prevent commercial vehicle accidents by ensuring that truckers don't work longer than they are allowed. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says ELDs could prevent thousands of crashes, hundreds of injuries, and dozens of deaths every year.
ELDs also protect truckers from labor abuses by making it far more difficult for trucking companies to force them to work longer hours and put themselves and others in danger.
Does the ELD Requirement Hurt Truckers?
Truck drivers say the ELD rule makes it impossible for them to make enough money and robs them of their ability to set their own schedules.
It's hard not to sympathize when government rules cut into working people's salaries and limit their freedom, but here's the thing - you and I should not be put at risk of terrible injury or death so that truckers and trucking companies can make more money.
When truckers drive more hours than they are allowed and hurt someone in an accident, that's negligence. And ELDs make it easier to prove that negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Why Does the Government Care How Long Truckers Work?
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) records show that 415,000 trucking accidents were reported to police in 2015, resulting in about 83,000 injuries and almost 4,000 deaths - about a 10 percent increase over the previous year.
Truckers are under tremendous pressure to drive even when they are exhausted - they get paid based on the number of miles they drive, not for resting or sleeping. And, research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that drowsy driving kills thousands of people each year.
How Do ELDs Help?
For years, FMCSA has imposed hours of service rules that require truckers to take regular breaks and limit them to driving no more than 11 hours a day and working 14 hours total. Those rules have not changed.
What has changed is that truckers can no longer cheat. When they logged their hours with pen and paper, they could fudge their start and stop times, drive longer than they were allowed, make a little more money ... and put the rest of us in danger. Electronic logging doesn't allow this.
It has always been difficult to prove that a driver caused an accident because they were too exhausted to drive - especially when the driver could just lie about how long they've been on the road. ELDs make it easier for police, accident reconstruction experts, and other investigators to determine whether truckers who are involved in accidents violated the hours of service rules.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial truck, call your SC trucking accident attorney at Axelrod and Associates immediately.
These cases can be complicated, and we can help you collect the evidence you need to hold the trucker or the company responsible. We will examine the ELD records as well as the company's hiring practices and the trucker's driving record to find out if anyone violated federal requirements. We will investigate to determine whether driver negligence, faulty equipment, or inadequate vehicle maintenance contributed to the accident. And, we will help you to find the right experts who can help to analyze the evidence and testify in court when needed.