As personal injury lawyers, we see first-hand how important it is for safety regulations—and the measures for achieving those safety standards—to be in place. That is why we were pleased that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the mandate requiring the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs).
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, this mandate applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) including commercial buses as well as trucks, and to Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers. The ELDs are designed to more effectively and accurately track semi-trailer driver’s hours of service. The affected carriers must be in compliance by December 18, 2017, giving motor carriers of all sizes just more than a year for implementation.
A similar mandate was attempted in 2011, but it failed because of concerns that it would lead to carriers harassing drivers. This new mandate has a specific section that defines and prohibits harassment of any kind in regards to using ELDs.
We join the American Trucking Association and Arkansas Trucking Association in supporting this mandate because ELDs are a proven way to regulate hours of service compliance.
Very few accidents are as catastrophic as those that involve 18 wheelers or “big rigs.” While many causes can come into play, what we see most of the time is that accidents involving big trucks are caused by the driver (as opposed to faulty equipment). This includes fatigued drivers, those who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and undertrained drivers.
By more efficiently and accurately maintaining service hour records, the trucking industry is making major strides to reducing the number of accidents caused by overworked, tired drivers.
Mandates such as this are designed to protect people and property. Big truck accidents hurt everyone involved, including the driver who will always have to live with the fact that they caused irreparable harm and even death to another person.
Accidents involving 18-wheelers are also financially devastating for the driver, the motor carrier, and the accident victims.
Another advantage we see to the ELD mandate is that in a situation where the truck driver is not at fault, the electronic log provides a more effective record for proving a driver’s compliance with service hour limits when the accident occurred.
At Bailey & Oliver Law Firm, we are a small business and understand that any kind of major mandate can be costly for small businesses that are forced to comply. According to estimates, 70 percent of the trucking industry does not use ELDs. That means that between now and December 18, 2017, thousands, if not millions of dollars will be spent industry-wide to purchase and implement ELD systems.
We firmly believe that while the mandate is forcing business investments now, it will become a major cost savings in the future as accidents are reduced. More importantly, the investment will result in lives being saved.