In April, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) proposed rules to require interstate commercial truck and bus companies to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in their vehicles to provide a more accurate record than that of paper records of duty status (RODS).
The new rules would not only improve safety measures, they are meant to help streamline record-keeping. Essentially the rules intend to reduce hours-of-service (HOS) violations by making it harder for drivers to falsify their time on logbooks and avoid detection by FMCSA and law enforcement. Most important, studies show it will help reduce crashes by fatigued drivers and prevent an estimated 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year.The Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, supersedes a prior 2011 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to electronic on-board recorders. It includes provisions to:
-Increase efficiency for law enforcement personnel and inspectors who review driver logbooks by making it more difficult for a driver to misrepresent information when submitting their records of duty status and ensuring the electronic logs can be displayed and reviewed electronically, or printed, with potential violations flagged.
-Record the distance traveled and the driver’s duty status. The devices will automatically record the date, time, and location of the CMV at each change of duty status and at intervals of no greater than 60 minutes while the CMV was in motion.
-Protect drivers from harassment by companies through an explicit prohibition against harassment by a motor carrier. The prior version of the rule (vacated by a federal court) spawned concerns about pressures on drivers to exceed hours of service limints and “inappropriate communications” that would affect drivers’ rest periods.
More than 12% of the 129,120 crashes involving large trucks and buses druing 2012 is attributed to impaired or fatigued driving. The rules would take effect during 2016.
A Cum Laude Honors graduate of Cumberland School of Law, Alabama tort law expert Mike Roberts has successfully litigated cases covering civil litigation, personal injury, negligence, product liability, wrongful death and fraud. He is the author of six editions of Alabama Tort Law, and is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court.