Are Electronic Logs Reducing Truck Crashes?

photo of trucker entering data into an eld logby HGD Staff

In December of 2015, the federal government released the final e-log rules for interstate motor carriers. According to the federal regulations now in place, the government determined that the burden of keeping paper logbooks was too great and that it was in everyone’s best interests to switch trucking companies to electronic log devices (ELD). Over the past few years, national trucking companies have largely begun adopting ELDs into their operations. This has certainly gotten plenty of pushback from truck driver lobbying agencies. Does the new rule really save lives? Is it making a difference?

What are the E-Log Rules?

Per the applicable federal regulations, the government determined that having e-logs would improve driver compliance with federal hours of service obligations. In other words, by removing the ability to cheat the system by running multiple paper logs, drivers would not be able to operate beyond their legal number of hours in a work day.

The rules provide:

  • A specific list of requirements for using ELDs
  • All commercial drivers (unless otherwise exempt) must keep a record of duty (ROD)
  • All commercial drivers who keep RODs must use ELDs
  • Measures for avoiding harassing drivers and companies
  • Mechanisms to avoid imposing impossible standards for drivers and companies

In short, the new rules are designed to push more companies and drivers to implement electronic records of driver duty. This way, fewer drivers will be able to cheat the system and drive beyond their legal hours of service.

The Results

In 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a detailed report that seemed to claim that accidents were down and that e-logs were greatly reducing accidents and highway fatalities. However, the report has been criticized for being potentially skewed. This is not to mention that if true, these findings would just serve to prove that a significant number of the serious and fatal injuries suffered by motorists each year are due to commercial drivers operating past their safe hours of duty.

One criticism comes from the trade site, Overdrive. Their reporting explains that while the government report claims roughly 11.7% fewer accidents with e-log equipped trucks and a 5.1% lower preventable crash rate, the results tended to only include data from large national carriers. Therefore, it is hard to know if the figures truly represent the industry. After all, owner-operators make up almost 10% of all truck drivers on the road, with more than 350,000 true owner-operators or lease-operators on the road.

Since many owner-operators and smaller fleet trucking companies are exempt from the e-log rules, it is questionable whether e-logs are making as big an impact as intended. Nevertheless, it is likely a step in the right direction toward regulating hours of service and keeping truck drivers honest and everyone safe on the road.

Have You Been Injured by a Tractor-Trailer?

Trucking crashes happen every day in every state in our country. Trucking accidents generally result in severe injuries, and large trucking companies will move fast and stop at nothing to conceal evidence of their mistakes. After a trucking collision, you need to put a nationwide litigation team on your side to protect your interests. Do not get left with unpaid medical bills, lost income, or worse.

Call Heninger, Garrison & Davis, LLC to speak with an attorney about your accident today. Our firm has offices in Georgia, Alabama, New York, and New Jersey. Wherever you were hurt, our team may be able to step in and help you today. Never assume that the trucking company or its large and powerful insurance company will take care of you and your family. To them, you represent risk. You represent a loss of money. You represent a threat. They will stop at nothing to quiet that threat by silencing you and crushing your chances of taking action. Do not let them do it. Call our firm today, and schedule a free consultation.

Work With an Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney

Once we are involved, we take over all communications with insurance companies, adjusters, representatives, medical collections and billing people, and even coordinate with healthcare providers to make sure you get the care you need. Do not wait too long. You have just a short amount of time to act. In some situations, you may have as little as a few months to act (cases involving state or federal government entities). Do not take chances with your future. Put our team on your side now.

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