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Could the new ELD regulations make trucks safer on the roads?

Sharing the road with 18-wheelers makes many Texas drivers nervous, and you may count yourself as one of those people. Their size and weight makes them intimidating, and many passenger-vehicle drivers do what they can to avoid being around them. Those healthy fears are often justified since accidents involving these mammoth vehicles tend to result in serious or deadly injuries to other drivers.

The potential for accidents is behind many of the regulations, rules and restrictions that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration places on truck drivers and trucking companies. One of the most recent rules put into place involves electronic logging devices that all truckers must use by the end of 2019. Many independent drivers and trucking companies may already be switching over to these new devices that provide real time information on the truck and its driver.

What information does the ELD provide?

The FMCSA requires that all ELDs include at least the following functions and features:

  • Provides driver location within one mile while the driver is on duty
  • Provides driver location within 10 miles while the driver is using the vehicle for authorized personal use
  • Logs driving time every 60 minutes automatically
  • Records driver identification, vehicle miles and engine hours
  • Records location, date and time
  • Synchronizes with engine control module to record vehicle motion, engine status and other information
  • Synchronizes time with coordinated universal time, or UTC
  • Prevents erasure or alteration of information collected
  • Retains data for current 24 hours
  • Retains data for seven consecutive days
  • Requires driver to review and acknowledge the information collected
  • Requires written explanation and certification of changes to records
  • Requires certification of driver records after every 24 hours

The device must also allow safety officials to obtain a copy of the ELDs information on demand. Data can be transferred via email, wifi, bluetooth or USB.

Using information from an ELD

If you suffer injuries or lose a loved one in an accident involving a truck, reviewing the records from the ELD could provide insights into what factors may have led to the crash. Logbooks often provide a starting point for investigations in connection with personal injury or wrongful death claims resulting from truck accidents. For instance, the ELD could reveal that the truck was located near an establishment that served alcohol in the hours prior to the crash, among other things.

Obtaining access to these records may require going through the courts, however. This and other aspects of a civil claim may require the assistance and guidance of the legal resources in your area.

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