Fatigued driving is one of the primary causes of truck accidents nationwide. In many cases, truckers exceed the time they are allowed to drive under hours of service rules. Hours of service rules are federal regulations that dictate how long truckers can operate before taking resting periods. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has devised several solutions for keeping fatigued truckers off the road. One of those solutions involves requiring commercial carriers to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) on trucks. These devices can also help prove fault in truck accidents.
For many years, and even presently, truckers have used paper logs to record their driving hours. Paper logs can be manipulated to allow truckers to sidestep hours of service rules. ELDs monitor engine hours, driving time, vehicle movement and location.
In many ways, ELDs digitalize driving logs, making them more difficult to manipulate. Roadside inspectors would be able to see data collected by ELDs and spot violations of hours of service rules. If a trucker were to cause an accident, information could be obtained from the ELDs to show who was at fault.
ELDs are similar to existing technologies used by commercial trucks. Trucks have electronic control modules (ECMs), which act as a sort of ‘black box’ for commercial vehicles. For those of you who don’t know, black boxes are what investigators use to determine the causes of plane crashes.
Depending on the vehicle, ECMs can record average speed, amount of time driven and other data. For this reason, ECMs are frequently used to determine fault in truck accident lawsuits.
Despite the FMCSA’s best efforts, the trucking industry has pushed back against the mandatory installation of ELDs. Finalized rules requiring the devices have been pushed back multiple times. Lawsuits have also been filed against the FMCSA for requiring ELDs. At the moment, ELDs will not become mandatory until December, 2017. These circumstances could change.
The New Jersey truck accident attorneys at Keefe Law Firm can help people who have been harmed by negligent commercial carriers.