In an attempt to make roads safer for truck drivers and civilians alike, the United States federal government issued a mandate requiring commercial truckers to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) in their vehicles by December 2017. While some operators have lobbied for extensions and exemptions, most transportation companies have complied with the requirement to install ELDs. For those who are unfamiliar with the technology, an ELD is an electronic device that logs commercial truck drivers hours for when they are driving, on-duty but not driving (such as when they are at a warehouse dropping off supplies), and resting. Before the implementation of ELDs, most all truckers kept track of their hours of service (HOS) by using hand-written paper logs. Unfortunately, this allowed for some drivers to doctor their records in order to spend more time behind the wheel and potentially make more money.
Now with the ELD mandate, truckers are being forced to follow the hours-of-service law—a regulation designed to promote safety and prevent driver fatigue. The law puts time limits on drivers—including being able to only drive 11 hours out of 14 and being off the clock for a minimum of 10 hours following each 14-hour time block. It also prevents truckers from working more than 70 hours in eight days.
So is the new ELD mandate making a difference? According to a survey completed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), over 70 percent of truckers believe that they have been more fatigued as a result of the ELD Mandate. Many of the surveyed truckers also admitted that they have started driving faster in order to beat the clock near the end of shifts. In fact, truckers may drive an average of 3.5 miles per hour faster after being detained at a shipper or receiver facility for two hours or more. On the other hand, proponents of the mandate point out that truckers probably take this view as they preferred the inability to verify paper logs. In fact, law enforcement officers caught over 30,000 truckers falsifying their logs in the 2017 fiscal year—contributing to a 20 percent increase in falsifying log violations during the past five years. Ultimately, there are statistics that speak to the success of the program, details of which you can read about within a previous blog post.
Moving forward, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) need to commit to obtaining even more data as to whether or not the ELD mandate is effective or simply creating dangerous situations for those who share the road with truckers willing to push their personal limits.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a fatigued or reckless truck driver, it’s important that you contact a knowledgeable attorney. The personal injury lawyers at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, have experience with such claims and are ready to help you. Call us today at 901-475-7434 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment with our experienced team.
Thomas Greer is a Memphis, TN personal injury trial attorney with Bailey & Greer. He has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Thomas has obtained multiple million dollar verdicts and settlements throughout his career. Thomas lives in Memphis with his wife and four daughters.