Is an Electronic Driver Logbook Coming Soon to Your Truck?
The vast majority of commercial drivers are honest, hardworking people. However, there are a few rotten apples in every bunch. This is seen in the wrecks that occur every year due to truckers who insist on falsifying their driver logbook. This practice is especially dangerous since it allows exhausted drivers to stay behind the wheel much longer than they should. In fact, about 12% of the more than 100,000 crashes that occur each year involving busses or large trucks are due to tired or otherwise impaired truckers. A proposed new regulation seeks to help end the problem by mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs). But will it deliver on its promise?
The proposal was announced in March of this year by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) officials. If approved, it will require that fleets outfit trucks and busses with ELDs. A similar rule was abandoned by the government in 2011 when an appeals court declared that it would give carriers a means to harass drivers into working longer hours by using ELD data. The new measure is attempting to avoid this problem by implementing the following safeguards:
- Only allowing FMCSA officials access to data from the devices during crash investigations, compliance checks, and roadside inspections.
- Specific restrictions on carriers for harassing drivers based on ELD data.
- Establishing a means for drivers to file complaints against carrier harassment based on ELD information. Companies found guilty of violating the rule will incur fines of up to $11,000 per incident.
- Protecting driver’s access to ELD data regarding their own on-duty hours.
- Requiring a “mute” function for ELDs to prevent disruptions of designated sleep time.
The rule will also ensure that ELD data can be printed or reviewed electronically, making it harder for truckers to submit false driver logbook data.
The proposed rule revives the old debate about the degree to which falsified logbooks contribute to commercial vehicle accidents. Only time will tell whether it makes a difference or not. In the meantime, it’s important to use every means available to ensure that driver logbook information is as accurate as possible. TruckingOffice software data can help you do just that. Find out how good it is by taking it for a free 30 day test drive starting today.