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Electronic Logs Proposed for Truck Drivers' Hours of Service

Keeping hours-of-service records is a primary safety requirement for truck drivers and trucking companies. Truck drivers are required to log their hours and take rest breaks to avoid fatigue, which too often is a contributing factor in serious truck accidents.

However, the accumulated data in truck drivers' logbooks can be unwieldy for investigators and regulators. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently detailed a proposed rule that would greatly reduce the amount of paperwork involved in hours-of-service records. The proposed regulation is also aimed at preventing truck drivers from keeping false logbooks.

In particular, the rule would require bussing and commercial trucking companies to implement an electronic system for recording hours of service. The FMCSA expects the use of Electronic Logging Devices, or ELDs, to reduce the number of regulatory violations and protect other motorists from the dangers of truck driver fatigue. According to the FMCSA, the new system is expected to prevent nearly 435 injuries and about 20 deaths each year.

To allay concerns over truck driver privacy, the new rule also provides that the electronic logs will remain with carriers and drivers except during routine inspections, accident investigations and regulatory compliance reviews.

The FMCSA expects ELDs to improve efficiency when regulatory inspectors and police look into truck drivers' hours of service. The new system is designed to flag potential violations and display the logs electronically.

While the proposed regulations are certainly a step in the right direction, Chicago residents should also understand that truck driver fatigue can be a problem even when drivers comply with federal regulations. To learn more about truck accidents from a legal perspective, please visit our personal injury website.

Source: Truckinginfo.com, "FMCSA Proposes Electronic Logbook Regulations," March 13, 2014

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