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Commercial Truck Drivers: Electric Log Device Mandate May Not Improve Safety

VA truck accident injury lawyerThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will soon require truck drivers to replace their paper logs with electronic logging devices (ELDs).   ELDs synchronize with a truck’s engine to automatically record data such as time spent on the road, miles driven, location and engine hours in real time.  As of Dec. 18, more than 3 million truckers will be required to replace paper logbooks that have been used to record a driver’s on- and off-duty hours since the 1930s, when the federal hours of service (HOS) rules for truck drivers were first introduced, and to use some form of ELD. .

The FMCSA says that requiring ELD’s will reduce the number of tractor-trailer crashes and save lives.  Truck drivers disagree. 

“That truck is my home, my business, my moneymaker,” truck driver Kim Schwindt told reporter Michelle Choi of KHOU. “I have a right not to have a GPS tracking device on my home.”

Another driver questioned the need for electronic logging. “If you’re a safe operator, why must you be monitored by the federal government, like you’re a criminal?” David McKinney said. 

Truck drivers argue that the new ELD regulation will not improve safety.  They cite a 2016 analysis conducted by the OOIDA Foundation that showed carriers with ELDs experienced more crashes than carriers without ELDs. Using publically available information from the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability Safety Measurement System website, the OOIDA Foundation discovered that the average crash rate per 100 power units was 5.2 for carriers with ELDs and 3.5 for carriers without ELDs.

Based on statistics from the FRG Law Firm, the number of crashes involving Swift Transportation, which uses ELDs, has increased by 50.4 percent since 2012. In the 24-month period prior to Dec. 3, 2017, Swift drivers were reported to have been involved in 2,256 crashes with 657 injuries and 67 deaths.  As Virginia truck injury accident lawyers we know that one new piece of technology will not prevent all truck accidents. 

 

Eric K. Washburn
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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