Prior to the federal rule mandating electronic logging devices (ELDs), some trucking fleets were equipped with automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs). According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), AOBRDs function similarly to ELDs in some aspects.
Both devices record:
- Date and time
- Engine hours
- Miles driven
- Hours driven
- On-duty and off-duty status
Unlike AOBRDs, ELDs can identify specific drivers, fleet owners, and trucking companies. They can also monitor when a truck is in motion, when the engine is on or off, and when malfunctions occur. In addition, law enforcement can gain access to a truck driver’s ELD data.
All AOBRD users must transition to ELDs
The ELD rule went into effect on December 18, 2017 and required that all fleet owners and trucking companies ensure that their vehicles are equipped. AOBRD users were given a two-year grace period to transition to ELDs. The FMCSA set the final deadline for December 16, 2019, according to an article in The Hill.
The purpose of the ELD rule is to strongly enforce the federal hours-of-service (HOS) rule, which limits driving time to 11 hours within a 14-hour shift. In addition, truck drivers must be off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours.
Prior to the ELD rule, many truck drivers got away with violating the HOS rule by falsifying their hours on paper logs. Truck drivers would often drive beyond the 11-hour limit in order to log more miles and earn more money. Driving beyond 11 hours led to more crashes caused by drowsy driving, however.
Since the ELD rule went into effect, HOS violations during inspections fell from 1.19 percent to 0.55 as of July 2019.
Can ELDs prevent truck crashes?
ELDs were first introduced in the mid-1980s. Prior to the ELD rule, many fleet owners and trucking companies used them optionally.
In 2014, the FMCSA commissioned a study that found 11.7 percent fewer crashes in trucks equipped with ELDs in comparison with those without them. They also saw 50 percent fewer HOS violations.
Drowsy driving remains one of the leading causes of truck crashes. While we may see the rate of drowsy driving incidents drop, some truckers may receive inadequate sleep while off duty or may be under the influence of drugs that can induce sleep (even prescription medications).
Of course, drowsy driving isn’t the only cause of truck crashes. The San Antonio attorneys at The Herrera Law Firm have seen the devastation caused by truck drivers who were distracted, speeding, and driving aggressively. We have also seen serious and fatal crashes caused by mechanical defects due to poor vehicle maintenance.
That’s why we’re dedicated to holding negligent parties accountable and helping injured motorists maximize their compensation. Contact us online today to schedule your free case evaluation.