The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is mandating that all long-haul trucking companies install electronic logging devices in their trucks. This new system will log and monitor a truck driver's whereabouts as well as facilitate the sharing of a driver's records and duty status. Many truckers in West Virginia and across the U.S. are protesting the mandate, saying that it is a violation of privacy. Others claim that the ELDs will compromise trucker safety.
The FMCSA previously pushed for electronic logging as a means to prevent drivers from cheating on paper logs. By linking to a truck's engine, the ELD knows when the engine is running and captures the movement of the truck, thus tracking how many hours and miles a trucker drives.
ELDs could also prevent drivers from overworking themselves. Currently, FMCSA guidelines allow drivers to work a maximum of 11 hours before requiring them to take a break. The agency estimates that the new system will prevent hundreds of crashes every year.
Some claim that ELDs will make companies pay only for those hours when employees are driving, not for those times when they're waiting for a load. Others go further and claim that the mandate is intended to kill off small trucking companies.
However widely the opinions range, trucker fatigue is still a reality that must be faced. Victims of accidents caused by truck driver negligence can seek legal assistance for personal injury claims. A lawyer can hire investigators to check the electronic log, the driver's crash history and other records to find evidence of reckless driving. Accident reconstruction experts may also be brought in. The lawyer can then negotiate for an informal settlement with the trucking company, taking the case to court as a last resort.