Improving Safety, Preventing Fatigue-Related Accidents, and Ensuring Regulatory Compliance in the Trucking Industry: Electronic Logbooks

Attorneys at Our Firm

The Chicago Accident Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. take note of recent efforts to centralize driver log data in the trucking industry through the use of Electronic Logbooks. Driver-fatigue continues to be a nationwide issue in truck crashes, however, Illinois seems to be particularly plagued with such accidents. According to the Department of Transportation’s Crash Facts and Statistics, on average more than 10,000 accidents involving semi-tractor trailers occur each year in Illinois. When incidence rates are further broken down by area, the residents of Chicago, and surrounding areas, have been heavily affected by truck accidents involving driver fatigue.

While the recent changes to regulations pertaining to Hours-of-Service is expected to have a profound positive impact on improving safety and reducing trucking collisions, effectiveness of remedial measures is highly dependent on the extent of compliance. Although there are a variety of ways that can assist in the verification of logbook records, truck drivers also know that records can be manipulated, and still appear to be in compliance. At Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. we recognize that falsification of records is a serious issue, and our pleased to see that the federal government has recognized the same.

The problem with current recordkeeping methods, is that the use of paper logbooks makes it easy for drivers to misrepresent their time. Moreover, logbook misrepresentations can be difficult, for both the FMCSA and law enforcement personnel, to detect. The use of Electronic Logging Devices (EDLs), however, could greatly reduce Hours-of-Service violations. In a statement provided by Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx:

"By leveraging innovative technology with Electronic Logging Devices, we have the opportunity to save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and safety inspectors."

As Truck Accident Attorneys, we support the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Proposed Rules regarding the mandatory use of Electronic Logbooks. Under the proposed rule, as supplemented March 28, 2014, commercial trucks and bus companies would be required to EDLs in their vehicles to record vital information concerning drivers’ Hours-of-Service.

What seems most promising about the potential for enactment of EDL rules, is that rather than recommending the use of EDLs for all CMV operations, the rulemaking examines four potential options, as follows:

Option #1: All CMV operations under 49 CFR 395.

Option #2: All CMV except, private motor carriers of passengers, where the driver is required to complete Hours-of-Service Records of Duty Status (RODS).

Options #3: All CMV operations under 49 CFR 395, and the ELD is required to include or be able to be connected to a printer and print.

Option #4: All CMV except, private motor carriers of passengers, where the driver is required to complete Hours-of-Service Records of Duty Status (RODS), and the ELD is required to include or be able to be connected to a printer and print.

In addition to cost-benefit analysis of each option, the proposed rule also provides data that sets forth estimated figures for reductions in crashes, injuries, and fatalities. With regard to Options 1 and 3, data revealed that implementation of the rule could prevent as many as 1714 crashes, 522 injuries, and 24 fatalities each year. Data for options 2 and 4, which exclude private motor carriers of passengers, vary slightly, with estimated reductions of 1425 crashes, 434 injuries, and 20 fatalities.

The Chicago Trucking Collision Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. know all too well the devastation that can occur as a result of an accident between a tractor trailer and a motorist. As such, we stand behind any efforts aimed at reducing injury and fatality rates. While the proposed rulemaking is only in the initial stages, we encourage all motorists to use caution as they share our roadways with large trucks and similar commercial vehicles.

If you were injured, or a loved one suffered a fatality in a truck crash, it is imperative that you discuss your legal rights and options with an attorney that has the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that you receive the justice and compensation deserved. Contact us today, online at www.zneimerlaw.com, or at 773-516-4100, to schedule your free personal injury consultation.

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