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Proposed Electronic Log Rules Might Help Tuscaloosa Truck Wreck Lawyers Protect Victim Rights

Nov 14, 2014 - Truck Accidents, Tuscaloosa by

If a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule proposed in March 2014 moves forward, truckers will be required to monitor their hours of service using electronic devices. Many drivers use these devices already, but others still rely on paper logs. Our truck wreck lawyers believe the proposed change will help ensure greater accuracy in trucking records. More accurate evidence would help level the playing field for individuals who sustain serious injuries at the hands of drowsy truck drivers.

How the Proposed Law Would Work

The proposed law has received overall support from many trucking companies, as well as the American Trucking Association, According to TruckingInfo.com, the law would require truckers to switch from paper logging to electronic logging devices (ELDs). These devices would comply with many standards, such as the following:

  • In-vehicle devices would record basic information about truck use, including date, time, location, engine hours and other information about the driver, vehicle and carrier.
  • Each ELD would be synchronized with the engine to record activity.
  • The devices would also record pertinent information when a truck is moving.
  • Tampering protection would prevent anyone from changing original information while providing the ability to check information integrity.

Reliable Tracking May Facilitate Legal Cases for Accident Victims

In spite of detailed logging requirements set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service, hand-written records are more error-prone than electronic information. Even more important, these records are easy to falsify. When our Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyers take these cases to insurance companies, out-of-court settlement negotiations or the courtroom, we often need to refute notoriously unreliable evidence. In fact, even when the records prove our clients’ claims, the counsel for the defendant can claim those records to be inaccurate.

A well-designed electronic logging law can dramatically improve the reliability of this important evidence. Naturally, dependable evidence goes a long way to help ensure victims have a fair chance to pursue the compensation they deserve.

Hacking Might Become a Future Issue

In recent years, more commercial trucks used speed governors to control their speeds. It did not take long for products like the Safety Pass Pro to appear on the market, presumably to improve truck safety. This device, which increases a truck’s maximum speed for safe passing and other emergency situations, can easily tempt drivers to drive at unsafe speeds.

It is not likely that an off-the-shelf device will appear on the market to flout federal logging regulations. However, many truckers are under extreme pressure from carriers to meet unreasonable delivery deadlines. As such, some truckers may find ways to temporarily disconnect ELDs, disengage trucks while stuck in traffic or otherwise trick the devices to allow additional driving time. While these hacks occur now with the current logging systems, our Tuscaloosa truck wreck lawyers believe that technological advances will continue to reduce (and maybe eliminate) this type of practice. We have confidence that the new devices will make safer roads a real possibility in the near future.

Additional Resources:

Hours of Service, June 17, 2014, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

OSHA Fines Company $1M for Violating Truckers’ Hours-of-Service Rule, August 18, 2014, The Hill

More Blog Entries:

Fatal Truck Crash Reportedly Caused by Fatigued Driver, Tuscaloosa Truck Accidents Blog

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