Trucking companies frequently ask their employees to drive long distances and work long hours. Some companies even pressure their drivers to break federal regulations and drive unreasonably long shifts, threatening the drivers with punishment or even termination if they refuse. As a result, many truckers drive in a constant state of fatigue, and this widespread fatigue remains one of the leading causes of deadly truck crashes in the United States.
Thankfully, emerging technologies can provide a clearer, more reliable picture of how long and how far a trucker was driving prior to a crash. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) requires all commercial truckers to maintain a written log of their hours and document rest periods for all trips, and companies must preserve these records for at least six months. In addition, as part of the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” (MAP-21) bill, the law now requires all commercial trucking vehicles to carry a functional electronic logging device (ELD).
Read on to learn more about how an experienced attorney can use the data from an ELD to build a powerful truck accident claim.
What Are ELDs and How Do They Work?
Electronic logging devices record each driver’s record of duty status (RODS) and ensure compliance with hours-of-service (HOS) requirements. ELDs synchronize with the vehicle’s engine to record the relevant data automatically. This approach prevents tampering while also saving the driver from excessive paperwork and helping dispatchers better plan logistics around HOS compliance.
ELDs track a wide range of information, including:
- Total driving time: Commercial truck drivers are limited to 11 straight hours of driving in a 14-hour period. Also, they may not drive if eight or more hours have passed since their last mandatory 30-minute rest break.
- Weekly hours worked: FMSCA rules say that truckers may only work a maximum of 70 hours during an eight-day period before taking a mandatory 34-hour break.
- Miles driven: Electronic logging devices monitor the total number of miles driven in each 24-hour period.
- Off-duty periods: ELDs also monitor the amount of time the truck has been idle.
- Daily vehicle inspection reporting: These reports include inspection dates, vehicle ID numbers, and any malfunctions that were reported or corrected.
Many ELDs also monitor driver behavior, including speeding and hard braking. This information can potentially provide evidence of driver negligence in the event of a lawsuit. In addition, more sophisticated ELDs even have GPS functionality that can help the driver choose quicker and safer routes and avoid high-traffic zones.
Using ELDs to Prove Negligence in a Car Crash
You can think of electronic logging devices as the “black boxes” of semi trucks. They record lots of useful information, which someone with experience can use to understand how the vehicle is operating and how the driver is behaving. As a result, ELDs can provide valuable answers to important and complex questions in the event of a collision.
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If data from an ELD shows that a trucker ignored FMSCA regulations by failing to take rest periods as necessary or ignoring potential vehicle defects, this can provide objective proof of negligent behavior on their part and could serve as important evidence in a lawsuit or trial. And if the electronic log conflicts with the written log or the data provided by the driver’s employer, this can further undermine the defense against an injury claim. This is exactly why individuals who have suffered injuries in a truck accident because of possible driver or trucking company negligence should always contact an experienced lawyer who knows how to gather, preserve, and interpret the valuable evidence from ELDs.
Injured in a Truck Accident in Oklahoma? Contact Atkins & Markoff for Help
If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries in a truck crash, the attorneys at Atkins and Markoff attorneys have the skill and needed to help you pursue justice and fair compensation. We have the resources to handle these complex cases, including cutting-edge accident reconstruction software and strong relationships with medical and trucking industry experts. We also offer free consultations where we can listen to your story and give you advice about your legal options and your best path forward, all at no cost or risk to you.
Please call (405) 607-8757 or complete this brief form to schedule your free consultation today. The statute of limitations to file a lawsuit following a truck crash in Oklahoma is only two years from the date of the incident, so don’t wait.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.