electronic logging devices

The ELD Mandate Is Working, but Trucking Companies Keep Fighting It

Ever since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it would push to require electronic logging devices (ELDs) on all commercial trucks, trucking companies and their lobbying groups have been fighting the measure tooth and nail.

In the past, trucking companies argued there was no solid data to show that electronic logging devices improved hours-of-service (HOS) compliance or helped fight the epidemic of deadly truck accidents caused by fatigue. Now, motor carriers have one less argument against ELDs because initial data gathered by the FMCSA shows the ELD mandate is working.

What Do ELDs Do?

An electronic logging device synchronizes with a truck’s engine to automatically record the vehicle’s driving time. This creates a simple and accurate log of the driver’s hours on the road. Logging drivers’ time is important to make sure they comply with federal hours-of-service rules made to ensure truckers take breaks and get adequate rest. When drivers don’t follow the hours-of-service rules, they tend to drive fatigued and create a serious vehicle crash risk.

ELDs provide a double benefit by reducing paperwork for truckers and making hours-of-service logs more foolproof and harder to falsify. The devices also record engine performance data, which can help detect potential maintenance issues.

FMCSA Data Shows a 50% Drop in HOS Violations

In an infographic posted to its website in late June, the FMCSA said that after the ELD mandate went into full effect in April, only 0.64% of driver inspections in May 2018 yielded an hours-of-service violation. The same figure for May of the previous year was 1.31% — more than twice as high.

In addition, the FMCSA was able to point to a steady decline in HOS violations since the rollout of its ELD mandate began in December 2017. During that month, the FMCSA began an initial “soft enforcement” phase of the mandate in which they took measures to support trucking company adoption of ELDs and provided education to carriers about the coming requirements. During this phase, the rate of HOS violations dropped from 1.19% in December to 0.83% in January. The rate then hovered around the 0.83% mark until April, when full ELD enforcement took effect and the rate dropped to 0.69%.

The FMCSA said it would post regular updates to the infographic and the figures provided within, but the agency hasn’t provided any additional data since June.

RELATED BLOG ARTICLE: 5-Year Exemption Would Cripple Electronic Logging Rule for Trucks

Why Do Trucking Companies Continue to Fight ELDs?

Unfortunately, trucking companies continue to resist the ELD mandate, most recently filing a request through a lobbying group for a five-year exemption to the ELD mandate for smaller trucking companies. This exemption would strip away the most important safety benefits of the mandate since small, fly-by-night trucking companies are the ones that most routinely flout regulations and force their drivers to break HOS regulations.

At the moment, however, the ELD mandate remains in effect. The mandate currently includes a grandfather clause for companies who adopted earlier electronic logging systems that don’t meet the standards of the current ELD mandate. Those companies have until December 16, 2019 to install newer ELDs and reach full compliance.

Besides promoting highway safety and reducing hours-of-service violations, ELDs also provide another important benefit: they produce critical evidence in a truck wreck lawsuit. If you’ve been injured in a truck crash, hours-of-service records will play an important role in your case, and you need an attorney who knows how to secure them along with other important evidence.

Contact Seattle Truck Law if You’ve Been Hurt in a Trucking Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a large truck or bus, Seattle Truck Law Attorney Morgan Adams is here to help. With years of experience and a sole focus on cases involving large vehicles, Mr. Adams is a powerful advocate for trucking accident victims and an experienced litigator who won’t hesitate to fight for your rights in court.

Please contact Seattle Truck Law at (866) 580-4878 or fill out our online contact form if you need legal representation or assistance. We offer free consultations to help you understand your legal options, and we handle cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you’ll only pay fees or case expenses if and when we achieve a verdict or settlement on your behalf.

References

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (2018, June). Electronic logging devices: Improving safety through technology [infographic]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/regulations/enforcement/406471/eld-infographic-6-month-update-f2508621.pdf

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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