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Atlanta Electronic Logging Device Rule Affects Trucking Accidents

Truck WreckThe U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety [1] Administration (FMCSA) has amended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to establish minimum performance and design standards for hours-of-service electronic logging devices as well as requirements concerning hours-of-service supporting documents. The Electronic Logging Device Rule [2] improves commercial motor vehicle safety and reduces the paperwork burden for both motor carriers and drivers by increasing the use of electronic logging devices in vehicles manufactured after the year 2000.

Electronic Logging Devices Make the Roads Safer for all Georgia Drivers

An electronic logging device synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier and more accurate hours-of-service (HOS) records.  The Rule compliance date is December 18, 2017, and both carriers and drivers who are using paper logs or logging software must transition to electronic devices prior to that time.  The U.S. Transportation Secretary [3] Anthony Foxx provides that “[t]his automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age, it also allows roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk.”  FMCSA estimates that the Rule will save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles based on their safety study [4] that found significant reductions in the overall crash rate and the preventable crash rate for trucks with electronic devices compared to those trucks that do not have such electronic logging devices (EDL).  That study provides, in part, as follows:

“[s]everal drivers spoke from personal experience about how the use of ELDs improves safety and compliance with HOS requirements. One driver stated that the system will remind him to take a break an hour in advance. The driver noted that this helps with safety by allowing him enough time to find a safe place to stop. The driver also pointed out that with electronic logs, his fleet manager can see the hours he has and better plan his loads… Another driver stated that the electronic log system forces drivers to be better trip planners, which makes them better drivers. The driver also pointed out that ELDs improve safety by giving drivers reminders of when they need to take a 30-minute break and when the end of their 14-hour tour-of-duty is approaching”

Based upon their research, the FMCA found:

“ELDs bring about improvements in safety by making it difficult for drivers and carriers to falsify drivers’ duty status which in turn deters violations of the HOS rules. And increased compliance with the HOS rules will reduce the risks of fatigue-related crashes attributable, in whole or in part, to patterns of violations of the HOS rules. Part of the improvement in safety also involves motor carriers accepting the responsibility of reviewing the electronic records and supporting documents. Motor carriers are required to ensure their drivers comply with applicable safety regulations…”

When a large tractor trailer or another type of commercial truck collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, the potential for severe or even catastrophic injuries is substantial. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 3,964 fatalities[5] in large truck accidents in 2013.  Further, while large trucks accounted for 4% of all registered vehicles in 2012, they accounted for 8% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes.  Based upon the FMCSA estimates, these numbers should decrease as of 2018 after the new rule is implemented.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in a collision with a commercial truck, you have likely sustained very serious injuries and even disabilities.  Although the electronic logging device will make Georgia roads safer, it does not become effective until 2017.  At Boling Rice LLC our team of highly skilled Atlanta truck accident lawyers have successfully helped many victims obtain the recovery they deserve for their injuries and related losses. The trucking company will likely mount an aggressive defense to challenge fault and/or the nature and severity of your injuries in order to limit its liability as much as possible. To protect your rights to recovery, it is critical to have an experienced truck accident attorney handling your case.

References:

[1] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices
[2] https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-12-16/pdf/2015-31336.pdf
[3] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/electronic-logging-devices-be-required-across-commercial-truck-and-bus-industries
[4] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/FMCSA-ELD-Final-Rule_12-10-2015.pdf
[5] http://www.iii.org/issue-update/auto-crashes

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