Commercial vehicle drivers in California and around the country will soon be required to use electronic logging devices to track their driving hours instead of using the paper logbooks that have been used since 1938. The new requirement, which will be effective in February 2016 and which must be implemented fully within two years, comes in an effort to prevent drivers and carriers from evading federal regulations.
The rule, announced in December 2015 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will require the installation of the devices on all trucks newer than those manufactured before 2000. Dump trucks will also be exempted from the law’s requirements. The devices work by automatically logging hours according to when the engine is running, the movement of the truck, the actual miles traveled and other such factors.
The trucking industry was opposed to the new rule and attempted to block it. Some small carriers and owner-operators argue that companies will use the law to take advantage of them if the companies can see they have driven less than the weekly allowed limit. The federal government believes the automatic logging will prevent truck drivers from keeping double books or altering their logged hours. The FMCSA indicated that the new rule has the potential to prevent 562 injuries and 26 deaths each year.
Hours and service regulations are in place to prevent truck drivers from driving while fatigued. When drivers do so, they risk seriously injuring or killing others on the road around them. Truck accidents have a much greater chance of causing fatalities and lifelong disabilities to people who are struck. When a truck driver is negligent and drives while fatigued, injured victims might choose to seek recompense by filing lawsuits against both the driver and their employer. An attorney can assist an injured victim in seeking damages for medical expenses and other applicable damages.