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Agency Considers Electronic Logs for Truckers as a Way to Slash Trucking Crash Rates

Federal rules require truck drivers to keep logs of rest periods, stops, and other data. Driver logs are intended to encourage drivers to abide by hours of service rules and other regulations. In the event of a trucking collision in Miami or another city, they can also become an important record of what may have contributed to an accident.

Unfortunately, as many personal injury attorneys in Miami and other cities know, there are a number of problems with traditional driver logs. In some cases, drivers may forget to write down important information. In other cases, the information is incomplete, inaccurate, or even falsified.

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Since driver logs are only useful when accurate, some experts have wondered whether electronic logs (ELDs) could help resolve the problem. A new study referenced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) suggested that trucks with electronic hours-of-service recorders (EHSRs) may have lower rates of violations and lower accident rates than trucks without the electronic logs.

Specifically, trucks with the devices had a preventable collision rate that was 5.1 percent lower and a total accident rate that was 11.7 percent lower when compared with trucks that did not have the devices. In addition, trucks with EHSRs had a driving-related hours-of-service violation rate that was 53% lower than trucks without the devices. The sample rate for the study was small, so it is possible that further studies may be requested.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about ELDs and EHSRs, however. Some drivers say that the devices place them under very high levels of surveillance. There is also some concern that the devices and their information could be used to further reduce total allowable hours for truck drivers.

Some experts also say that the devices themselves are not necessarily a solution for a few reasons:

•The devices may not necessarily help prevent hours of service violations. Since the devices stay with the truck, truck drivers could potentially simply jump into another truck after a certain amount of time to keep driving. The devices are not foolproof.

•As with traditional logs, the electronic logs are only useful if the information from them is gathered and used. If no one is monitoring the information and acting on the data, it is unlikely that they devices would dramatically slash accident rates.

•The devices may not address some of the real reasons behind fatigued driving. While fatigued driving in Miami and other cities is a leading cause of crashes, long hours of driving may not be the only culprit. Sleep disorders, certain medications, allergies, and other issues can all cause crashes — and EHSRs and ELDs cannot address these issues. In other words, a driver may take the mandated amount of rest according to electronic logs but still be a danger on the road.


Have you been injured in an accident caused by a reckless or dangerous driver? You can always contact Flaxman Law Group for a free case assessment to review your situation with a personal injury attorney.