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Federal Rules Change to Require Truckers to Use Electronic Logs

Truck drivers hand holding tablet containing electric log

After several years of consideration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted a rule that will require all long-haul commercial truck drivers to record the number of hours and miles they’ve driven using an automatic, electronic – rather than paper – log. The changed rule will affect some 3 million commercial drivers. The rule change is anticipated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries caused by truck accidents each year.

Commercial truck drivers are limited by hours of service rules to driving not more than 11 hours during a 14-hour work day, with the other three hours that may be spent loading cargo, performing maintenance on their truck, or completing other work-related tasks. Drivers are required to take two mandatory rest breaks, and to take ten uninterrupted hours of rest in a 24-hour period. These rules are integral to keeping roadways safe from drivers who are not sufficiently well-rested to be safe on the road, and to prevent drivers from feeling forced to result to stimulants or other unsafe practices to continue working. Since the 1930s, drivers have been required by federal law to record the number of hours driven, timing of rest and meal breaks, and miles traveled on a paper log. The logs must be submitted to the carrier company on a regular basis.

As the pool of eligible commercial drivers shrinks, but the demand on the carrier and shipping industry grows, there exists a growing incentive to falsify these paper logs to enable drivers to cover a greater number of miles each day. With this change in the rules, drivers will be required to use an electronic log which is connected to the truck’s onboard computer, so that the device will automatically record what time the engine is started, how many miles the driver has covered, where the driver is located, and when rest breaks were taken and their length. Using electronic logs will also allow law enforcement to inspect how many hours a driver has been on the road that day, and to force a driver to pull off the road after going over the maximum number of hours.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident in the Indianapolis area or beyond, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Lee Cossell & Feagley, LLP for a consultation on your claims, at 317-631-5151.

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