Posted On August 2, 2017 In Truck Accidents
Federal and state hours of service rules help prevent truck accidents caused by fatigued driving. These rules set limits for how long intrastate and interstate truckers can drive. For example, interstate drivers operating property-carrying trucks that weigh 10,001 or more pounds cannot drive for more than 11 hours within a 14-hour shift.
Truckers must record their hours of service compliance in paper or electronic logbooks. Information in the logbooks may include total driving hours, miles covered and off-duty time. Logbooks are checked by roadside safety inspectors to catch hours of service violations. Employees working for these trucking companies may also check for hours of service violations.
However, paper logbooks can be manipulated. Truckers can misrepresent how long they have driven during each 14-hour shift. Electronic logging devices (ELD) may help reduce instances of this problem. Unlike paper logbooks, an ELD records driving time information directly from the truck’s engine. An ELD can record engine hours and vehicle movement. Roadside safety inspectors could download driving time information to check for hours of service violations.
In 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) unveiled a rule that will require trucking companies to use ELDs. Unless Congress repeals or significantly alters this rule, it will go into effect on December 18. House Resolution 3282, also known as the ELD Extension Act of 2017, would seek to delay the mandatory implementation of ELDs by two years. Some trucking companies already use ELDs because they find them to be more convenient and less expensive than paper logbooks. In fact, the FMCSA has argued that ELDs can eliminate $1 billion in paperwork costs for trucking companies and law enforcement.
Information contained in paper or electronic logbooks may also be useful evidence during a truck accident case. Many commercial trucks in operation also use electronic control modules (ECMs), which record various data about trucks. For example, an ECM may record the vehicle’s highest speed or time driven. This data can also be used in conjunction with information in logbooks to catch discrepancies.
Data from an ECM can also be useful during a truck accident lawsuit, especially when used in conjunction with other evidence. However, trucking companies may spoil ECM data after an accident to shed themselves of any liability. It is important to hire an attorney immediately after a truck accident to prevent the spoliation of evidence.
The Texas truck accident attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC have firsthand experience with trucking industry business practices. If you or a loved one suffered harm during a truck accident, our attorneys can help you discover whether you have legal options to seek damages.