Trucking companies in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the U.S. are coming to terms with a new mandate from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA now requires electronic logging devices to be installed in every commercial truck for tracking and safety reasons. Larger truck carriers like FedEx and UPS are already using ELDs in their fleet.
The FMCSA claims that ELDs will allow drivers’ records to be tracked, managed and shared, thus preventing drivers from cheating on paper logs. It also has safety benefits as drivers can be warned against overworking; the FMCSA sets a maximum of 11 work hours, after which a truck driver must stop working or else run the risk of an accident due to fatigue. ELDs may help prevent hundreds of accidents every year.
An ELD is attached to a truck’s engine and captures data such as when the engine is running, when the vehicle is moving, how many miles it covers and how long the engine is under operation. Critics believe that ELDs will force companies to pay drivers only for those times when their vehicles are in motion, not for times when, for instance, they have to wait for a load. Others believe that the devices constitute an invasion of privacy and are the government’s way of forcing small trucking fleets out of business.
The fact remains that truck accidents are an all-too-common occurrence. Victims of such accidents may wish to consult with a lawyer about filing an accident claim. The lawyer may hire investigators to find proof of trucker negligence: For example, the driver may have been fatigued from overwork or under the influence of drugs. After bringing together the necessary paperwork, the lawyer may be able to negotiate for a settlement with the trucking company’s own lawyers.