FMCSA proposed rule draws on benefits of technology

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that there were 129,120 collisions in 2012 that involved large trucks or buses. Of those thousands of truck accidents, over 12 percent were tied to a driver that was impaired, including impairment caused by fatigue.

A new rule was proposed on Thursday, March 13, that the FMCSA says could help eliminate about 20 of the fatalities related to drowsy driving and another 434 injuries that occur per year. What is the new proposed rule? It is a requirement that all commercial truck and bus companies switch over to the use of electronic logging devices to record hours of service.

Electronic logging devices would replace the paper HOS recordkeeping methods. The primary benefit would be the reduction of fatigued driving, said the FMCSA. These devices would help cut down on instances in which logbooks are falsified to appear as though the driver has not violated the HOS rules.

Not only would it help avoid intentional cases of HOS violations, but it could also help reduce the paperwork burden for bus and truck companies and increase the administrative efficiency involved in recordkeeping.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had a few concerns that the group said it will keep on its radar as it reviews the most recently proposed rule. A major concern for the group is to ensure that truck drivers are protected from harassment. A second concern that the group said needs to be addressed is the cost that could be imposed on the driver to comply with the requirement.

With the volume of commercial trucks and buses that pass through Louisiana each day, personal injury attorneys are another party that keeps an eye on these rules and regulations. Understanding them is important in both the investigation of an accident and the success of a victim’s claim for compensation.

Source: The Trucker, “Breaking news: FMCSA releases proposed ELD rule,” March 13, 2014

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