The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule which mandates the use of electronic logging devices for commercial truck drivers and motor carriers to track compliance with hours-of-service regulations. By December 18, 2017, all drivers who are required to maintain record of Duty Status (RODS) logs, must use an ELD.
However, the Trump administration is offering truck drivers a four-month window to comply with the new law. Now, between December 18, 2017 and April 1, 2018, truck drivers who are stopped and do not have an ELD will receive a citation, but they will be allowed to continue driving as long as they can show that they are in compliance with Hours of Service regulations. Violations of ELD rules will not be counted against a company’s safety records until after April 1.
What are ELDs and how might they contribute to traffic safety?
An electronic logging device connects to the truck’s engine and records whenever the truck is moving. It allows the driver to log in and select whether they are on-duty or off-duty. The driver’s duty status can be transmitted to law enforcement either wirelessly, through a USB connection or Bluetooth. The role of the ELD is to track a commercial driver’s compliance with the FMCSA’s hours of service rules.
An electronic logging device will issue an audible warning when the driver is getting close to the end of their shift, so it helps the driver stay in compliance. The ELD will also record critical events such as a motor vehicle accident.
Will ELDs make trucks safer?
In 2013, the FMCSA conducted a study on the potential safety benefits of ELDs. The results of the study, which was done with large truck fleets, were promising. The study found the following:
- Trucks equipped with ELDs had driving-related (53%) and non-driving-related (49%) HOS violation rates that were significantly lower than the rates for non-equipped trucks
- Trucks equipped with ELDs had an 11.7% lower crash rating and a 5.1% lower preventable crash rating than trucks that were not equipped with ELDs
- They estimated that about 26 lives per year will be saved because of ELDs
- ELDs may prevent more than 560 injuries each year
- The cost savings of the safety benefits is about $400 million each year
It remains to be seen if ELDs will contribute to overall traffic safety. Large commercial trucks pose a significant safety hazard to passenger vehicles on the highway. If ELDs can help to reduce and eventually eliminate the truck accidents that are a result of truck driver fatigue, they will have made an important contribution to highway safety for all drivers.
If you have suffered a serious injury in a commercial truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a truck crash, our North Dakota truck accident lawyers are here to protect your right to compensation for your injuries and additional losses. At the Larson Law Firm, P.C., you work with an honest and aggressive legal team that is ready to fight for your rights on and off the road. To call to schedule a free consultation in our Minot office, please call 701-484-4878 or fill out our contact form now.