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Can E-Logs Prevent Truck Accidents?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has long been responsible for creating and enforcing trucking rules to protect truck drivers and everyone else on the road. However, one of the FMCSA’s most important rules, which prohibits drivers from driving for more than 10 consecutive hours, has been nearly impossible to police. Fortunately, with electronic logs, or E-logs, the FMCSA can monitor truckers’ driving times and enforce the driving limit.

Why Is the Driving Limit So Important?

Truck drivers are often assigned strict deadlines, which can make for extremely demanding hours. If a driver needs to get to Los Angeles by a certain time but he or she is tied up in traffic, the driver may simply drive more than their allowable 10 hours to make up for lost time. However, this practice has led to a serious issue—drowsy driving. Falling asleep at the wheel is extremely dangerous for any driver, and especially hazardous for truck drivers.

The Potential Danger

Semi-trucks typically weigh about 80,000 pounds, and their enormous size makes them more likely to cause significant damage in a crash. Big trucks might roll, tip, or drift into opposing traffic; block off multiple lanes; or veer off the road and into nearby buildings. As a result, truck accidents usually involve multiple vehicles, cause catastrophic injuries, and result in higher fatality rates.

The Solution: Electronic Logs

In the past, the FMCSA used old-fashioned paper logs to keep track of how much time each driver spent behind the wheel. Unfortunately, these logs were easily forged, making it nearly impossible to enforce the 10-hour driving limit. The electronic logging devices, however, attach directly to the truck’s engine to monitor how much time the vehicle is driven. Since these devices have been implemented, the FMCSA can now monitor and police drivers who break the driving limits, which can help minimize the issue of driver fatigue.

The E-logs were only introduced somewhat recently, and the FMCSA implemented them as a monitoring device in semi-trucks in December of 2017. Although we have yet to see conclusive results, the FMCSA estimates that these devices will help prevent up to 1,800 drowsy driving truck accidents each year.

Were You Injured?

Even with these new monitoring devices, truck accidents can still occur. Even with e-logs, drivers might break FMCSA rules, putting themselves and others in serious danger. If you or someone you love was injured in a trucking accident caused by a negligent driver, our firm wants to help you seek compensation.

For help after a truck accident, contact our Washington DC personal injury lawyers at Simeone & Miller, LLP for legal guidance.