For safety reasons, limits on the hours that commercial truck drivers can work have been in place for decades. These hours-of-service regulations, which are quite specific and complicated, stipulate how many consecutive hours drivers can work and how much time they are required to be off-duty between work shifts. The regulations are enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with the intent of increasing safety by keeping truckers from becoming too fatigued and potentially causing accidents. So how are these regulations enforced? Currently, truck drivers log their time in logbooks, or via electronic tracking systems installed in vehicles.
Trucking regulations are in place to help keep truck drivers and other roadway users safe. When these regulations are violated, crashes are more likely to occur. If you incurred injuries in a truck crash, an experienced Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer can answer your questions. To schedule a free consultation of your case with a personal injury attorney, reach out online.
Logging Time in a Logbook
When truck drivers log their time in a paper logbook, they are essentially on the honor system. They must accurately record their time both on and off-duty. The problem with written logs is that there is more room for error. Busy drivers may put off entering information in these books, as they are required to do each time they go on or off-duty. Consequently, they may forget the exact hours they worked and didn’t work, so logs may be inaccurate.
Less ethical drivers may intentionally falsify logbooks. Truck drivers are often paid by the mile, so they may be motivated to drive longer than they actually did. Or drivers may bow to the enormous pressure put on them by some trucking companies to get more done in less time.
Government regulatory personnel can inspect truck driver logbooks at any time, and drivers who are found to be in violation of hours-of-service regulations are subject to large fines and potentially restrictions on their ability to keep driving. Just a couple of things that may raise red flags for inspectors when reviewing commercial truck driver logbooks are:
- Excessive miles driven for the time traveled
- Identical drives
Electronic Logging Devices
Starting December 16, 2019, paper logs will no longer be allowed, and all commercial trucks must be outfitted with electronic logging devices (ELD) that are registered with the FMCSA. Government regulatory experts believe that these devices are more accurate in tracking trucking time and will enhance safety in the industry. These electronic devices use GPS signals to capture miles, times driven, and various other information. They can also detect and report vehicle malfunctions and maintenance problems.
While some truck fleets have already voluntarily put these systems in place, there is controversy within the industry about being forced to use these electronic devices. Some organizations and truck drivers believe this forced usage infringes on the rights and privacy of truck drivers. Other trucking organizations believe the devices will be beneficial to the trucking industry and improve safety for everyone on the road.
Some commercial trucks are exempt from the new ELD regulation. These include tow-truck drivers, drivers whose vehicles were made before 2000, and drivers who use paper logs for less than eight days within a 30-day cycle.
Hurt in a Crash? Contact a Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Attorney
If you’ve been in a truck accident, contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. today. Attorney David Fuchs can help you understand your rights, and walk you through the legal process, should you decide to file a claim. To schedule a free, initial case evaluation, contact him today.