Report: New mandate by FMCSA requires electronic logbooks for truckers

The FMCSA recently adopted a new rule that will require truckers to use electronic logging devices to help cut down on fatigue-related crashes.

It is estimated that 110,000 people were injured and 3,903 were killed in trucking accidents in 2014 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Despite regulations aimed at limiting the number of hours that truckers are on the road, driver fatigue commonly contributes to such collisions in New York, and elsewhere. Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, issued a mandate aimed at encouraging truckers to comply with the drive-time limitations.

Why is fatigued driving dangerous?

The dangers of falling asleep behind the wheel are somewhat obvious. A motorist who is sleeping cannot control his or her vehicle, and thus, avoid an accident. Drowsiness, however, can be just as hazardous. Being overly fatigued or sleepy may cause a range of impairments, which may affect truckers' ability to safely operate their vehicles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsiness may cause impaired judgment, decreased attentiveness and delayed reaction times for truck operators.

Required transition to electronic logging devices

The FMCSA recently adopted a new policy known as the final rule. This mandate requires truckers to begin using electronic logging devices to maintain their hours-of-service records. Commercial truck operators who are currently using automatic onboard recording devices must be in compliance with the rule by December 16, 2019. Those who are presently using paper logbooks have until December 18, 2017 to make the switch.

Electronic logging devices are installed directly into commercial vehicles and monitor their engines. These devices record data on whether the engine is running, how long the engine has been running, if the vehicle is moving and how many miles it has driven.

New mandate affects truckers, other drivers and passengers

It is believed that requiring the use of electronic logging devices will push drivers to adhere to the federal hours-of-service regulations. Increased compliance with these limitations may help to cut down on the number of fatigue-related trucking collisions. The FMCSA estimates that an average of 563 injuries and 26 deaths will be prevented each year as a result of the new rule.

Consulting with an attorney

When people are involved in collisions involving large commercial trucks in New York, they may suffer serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. This may leave them wondering how they will afford their medical bills and compensate for their lost wages. In some situations, the truck driver or trucking company may be held responsible for these, and other resulting damages. Thus, those who have experienced such situations may find it helpful to seek legal guidance. An attorney may help them understand their rights, in addition to their options for pursuing compensation.