The trucking industry uses ELDs, or electronic logging devices, to “improve safety by ensuring strict compliance with hours-of-service requirements.” The use of electronic logging devices in the trucking industry may reduce the large truck crash rate by about 12 percent and reduce hours-of-service violations by 50 percent compared to paper logs, federal data show. Accordingly, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) just implemented congressionally mandated ELD requirements on December 18, 2017. This will mean new regulations for truck drivers on Florida roads—regulations designed to protect Florida drivers.
Changes to ELD Requirements
While many major trucking companies already made the transition to electronic logs, those that still used paper logs must have switched to electronic log devices on December 18, 2017. Inspections must include a review of a driver’s ELD—and beginning April 1, 2018, any commercial motor vehicles without an ELD must leave service. The new ELD rule will address:
- Who is covered and excepted by the rule
- Technical ELD speculations to ensure standardization and compliance
- A phase-in timeline
- Provisions to help prevent date tampering
- Standard data displays and transfers
FMCSA put hours of service requirements in place to reduce driver fatigue and in turn, truck accidents. Truck driver distraction due to fatigue may constitute a leading cause of large truck accidents in the United States. An ELD may prevent a driver from exceeding hours of service restrictions and causing accidents.
Hours of Service Regulations
Commercial truck drivers must adhere to three types of hours-of-service regulations. While truck drivers used to record their hours on paper, they must now record their hours in a standardized electronic format through which enforcement agencies, regulators, and employers can more easily ensure compliance with the regulations. The regulations, however, still include:
- The 14-hour driving window – Truck drivers can drive as long as 11 hours within a 14-hour window—but a truck driver must go off duty for at least 10 hours to activate the window.
- The 11-hour driving limit – A truck driver may only drive a truck for 11 total hours during that 14-hour window—but a driver must stay within eight hours of the last required 30 minute break. Put simply, a driver cannot drive for more than eight consecutive hours without taking a 30-minute break.
- The 60/70-hour duty limit – A driver may not operate a truck for more than 60 hours within a seven day period or more than 70 hours within an eight-day period.
- The 34-hour restart – A truck driver who wants to “restart” the 60- or 70-hour clock must take 34 consecutive hours off duty, including sleep. If the driver does not take the allotted time off, hours left in the week will not reset.
These regulations apply to individual truck drivers and to almost all commercial vehicle operators. The regulations apply across the entire trucking industry. This means a truck driver cannot circumvent these regulations by working for two different employers. Furthermore, off-time does not include resting in the truck at a rest stop or two hours of riding as a truck passenger. For example, a driver resting at a truck stop for two hours can count this as a 30-minute break, but the fourteen-hour window continues ticking. A truck driver cannot claim adequate off-time after simply stopping for a bit.
Because regulators may find tracking compliance difficult, and truck drivers may feel tempted to circumvent them to return home more quickly, contact an attorney who understands these complex regulations if a truck accident injured you.
Negligence and Negligence Per Se in Florida
If a Florida truck accident injured you, the new ELD regulations should helpyour Florida truck accident and personal injury lawyer determine whether the truck driver violated any hours-of-service regulations at the time of the accident. If so, because the driver violated federal law, a court may find the driver negligent as a matter of law, also called negligence per se. In this case, a violation of the law is proof of negligence—and the driver and trucking company assumes the burden of proving innocence of negligence. If the driver violated service hour restrictions, however, the driver and trucking company must make a difficult argument toprove to the court that fatigue didn’t cause the accident. These new ELD requirements may well aid Florida truck accident attorneys in proving your case.
Contact a Clearwater Truck Accident and Federal Trucking Regulations Attorney Today
Especially with the new ELD requirements, complex federal regulations require experienced eyes and expertise when it comes to commercial motor vehicle crash cases. Getting the compensation you deserve can take immense time and effort—from checking and confirming logbook hours to ensuring the truck driver did not operate under a forged logbook—if a truck driver violated regulations. Finding such a violation may result in the court granting you a presumption that the truck driver’s negligence injured you. You may even claim that the trucking company negligently ran its hourly tracking system and failed to ensure that its employees followed proper ELD regulations.
If a truck accident injured you, contact the Dolman Law Group today. They have the personal injury and truck accident lawyers in the greater Tampa Bay area who can analyze your claim in accordance with the new ELD federal trucking regulations. Call them today at (727) 853-6275 or write them through their online contact form for a free, no-risk consultation about your personal injuries.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652