FMCSA to Decrease Fatigued Truck Driving by Mandating Electronic Logs

Last month, the truck driver accused of crashing into a limo van carrying comedian Tracy Morgan and his driver pled not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and aggravated assault in connection with the well-publicized trucking accident.

Federal investigators have suggested that the truck driver had gone with no sleep for 28 hours prior to the accident, which left Morgan seriously injured and in critical condition, and left the comedian’s driver dead.

This article explains how newly mandated electronic monitoring devices (ELDs) for commercial trucks will help to prevent drivers from exceeding their driving time and reduce deadly trucking accidents – such as Morgan’s – from occurring on our nation’s roads.

Drivers Fatigue the Leading Causes of Large Trucking Accidents

Three million truck drivers travel the roads, alongside millions of other motorists every day. Almost 400,000 motorists and truck drivers are killed in large trucking accidents every month.

Alarmingly, over 500,00 citations were issued for violation of hours-of-service (HOS) rules last year. HOS rules limit a trucker’s driving time in order to help eliminate driver fatigue.

However, driver fatigue remains one the leading causes of large trucking accidents.

Surprisingly, the majority of truck drivers self-monitor their driving time using a system that hasn’t changed since the 1930s – the driver simply fills out a paper logbook to record the driving time. This method is prone to human error and easy to falsify. And the result: Too many violations and too many trucking accidents.

New ELD Mandate for Truck Drivers

A new and long-overdue law is poised to usher in needed changes to improve highway safety. This law has the broad support of safety advocates, law enforcement, the trucking industry, and truck drivers. This commercial mandate requires every commercial truck to have an ELD to accurately monitor and record driving time.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced these rules regarding the new law’s implementation in December 2015; Congress has given the industry until December 2017 to adopt ELD guidelines.

To the trucking industry’s credit, an estimated 30 percent of the nation’s 3.5 million large trucks already have ELDs. Results for these companies and their drivers include:

  • Reduced accidents,
  • Lower insurance premiums, and
  • Enhanced efficiencies.

Safety is the FMCSA’s main priority; at the core of this rule is improved safety on our highways. ELDs will help ensure that HOS limits will be obeyed, and as a result, the nation’s truck drivers will be well-rested and alert when behind the wheel.

Any attempt to delay or prevent these laws’ implementation will needlessly risk more lives and leave more families devastated. Timely, industry-wide adoption will ensure that these laws regarding HOS limits will be strictly enforced, thereby reducing accidents and saving lives.


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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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