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 lawyers at Simeone & Miller, LLP for legal guidance.