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New Federal Rule Will Make Electronic Logs for Truckers Mandatory

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recently published a rule, years in the making, which will require long-haul commercial truck drivers to use electronic logging devices to record the number of miles traveled and hours worked. The rule goes into effect in February of 2016, though the estimated 3 million truck drivers who are governed by the rule will have until December of 2017 to implement the use of electronic logging devices on their rigs.

Up until now, commercial truck drivers have had the option of using paper logs to record how many hours they’ve worked in a given day, as well as the timing and length of meal breaks, and the length of their extended overnight rest breaks. These logs are an important way to track whether or not drivers are compliant with the FMCSA’s hours of service regulations, which mandate the maximum number of hours a driver can be on the road, as well as minimum breaks between shifts. However, with an increasing demand on the nation’s shipping and carrier fleet, and greater pressure to make deliveries in shorter amounts of time, there is a great incentive to drive longer than is legally permitted and falsify paper logs. Implementing electronic logging devices will make it nearly impossible to falsify driving logs, and should lead to greater safety on the road and fewer truck accidents. Additionally, if a law enforcement officer pulls a driver over, that officer will be able to inspect the driver’s automatically-recorded electronic log to monitor compliance with hours of service regulations, and to make sure that driver is still safe to be on the road.

Electronic logging devices must connect to a truck’s internal computer and be able to record such information as a driver’s location by GPS, miles driven from when the engine was first started, and the length of time spent on breaks. This data will need to be in a format that is easily understood, and will need to be transferrable either wirelessly, via Bluetooth, or via USB port. An additional component of the rule bars carrier companies from using the logging devices as a means of communicating coercive messages to drivers.

If you have been injured in a truck accident in the Hudson Valley, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello for a free consultation on your claims, at 845-331-4100 for our Kingston office or 845-236-4411 for our office in Marlboro.

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