Will New Commercial Trucking Mandate Reduce Truck Accidents In El Paso?
Truck accidents have long been a public safety hazard on the roads of America. Now, federal regulators are attempting to reduce the number of truck accidents by requiring commercial trucks to be installed with new electronic logging devices.
This addresses long-time issues with truckers inaccurately logging their time in order to cram as many miles into their schedule as they can – which boosts the bottom line for both the company and the trucker. Paper logs are too easily manipulated, and oversight has been inadequate. These logs are often critical to a truck accident injury lawsuit when there is suspicion the trucker may have violated federal safety standards
After any truck accident, an experienced truck accident attorney can help El Paso injury victims hold negligent truck drivers and transportation companies liable for their dangerous conduct.
The New Electronic Logging Device Requirement
For years, commercial truck drivers have been required to keep travel logs of the time and distance they drive in a given day. This allows federal inspectors to ensure that drivers and companies are complying with federal laws restricting the number of hours a trucker can drive in a single day. However, hard copies of these pen-and-paper logs are not always accurate. The system relied on honest self-reporting from truck drivers. Because truck drivers are often paid by the mile – not the hour – truck drivers had a financial incentive to push the federal limits, and squeeze in as many miles as possible.
Electronic logging devices (ELDs) do not change the number of hours a truck driver can drive in a single day. Rather, they provide a more accurate reporting system, to ensure that drivers are complying with the law. Trucks.com reports that commercial truck drivers are limited to eleven hours per day of driving. ELDs link to a truck’s engine to monitor its run time, and send alerts when it exceeds the federal limit.
The Pros and Cons of ELDs
The federal rule regarding ELDs was first published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in December 2015, pursuant to a mandate from Congress. Trucking companies have until December 18, 2017 to equip their vehicles with ELDs. Despite having two years to comply with the new regulation, many independent drivers still oppose the mandate, believing it will be intrusive to drivers. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has made many unsuccessful legal maneuvers aimed at stalling the ELD mandate. In October 2016, the Seventh Circuit of Appeals rejected the Association’s arguments that the mandate would be intrusive and encourage harassment of carriers over driving hours. The Association has also supported a bill which would delay implementation of the ELD mandate until December 2019. The bill (which has a remarkable 49 co-sponsors) has not moved past the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
While privacy is certainly an important right for all Americans, it cannot be universally applied to trump important safety regulations. Vague concerns over “privacy” and “harassment” seem misplaced when the regulation at issue is projected to prevent almost two thousand truck accidents per year. This amounts to twenty-six lives each and every year. If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, be sure to contact an experienced El Paso truck accident attorney as soon as possible. You have the legal right to be compensated for your injuries and financial losses.
Michael J. Gopin has practiced law in El Paso since 1987. Even after more than 30 years, he still remembers his first jury case. He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin in 1983 with a bachelor of business administration, majoring in accounting. He received his juris doctorate degree from St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio. Michael has successfully handled countless cases of medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, and nursing home negligence. He enjoys helping people “get their lives back in order” by providing high-quality legal representation and compassionate customer service.