Residents in Alabama who have ever been in their vehicles and come up next to a semi-truck or other big rig know how small and vulnerable they feel in that situation. The massive size and weight of these large commercial trucks can make any accident involving them be extremely tragic. This makes it essential that truck drivers operate their vehicles safely at all times.
Truck drivers may experience excessive fatigue after driving for many hours on end, often at night and on lonely roads. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted a new rule called the Hours of Service rule a few years ago. This rule capped the number of hours a trucker may drive each day and each work week. The goal of the HOS rule was a reduction in fatigue and, thereby, fatigue-related accidents. To help enforce the HOS rule, they FMCSA also instituted a rule to use new electronic logging devices.
The ELDs connect to a truck’s engine and automatically record data like when an engine is on or off, how many minutes or hours a vehicle has been driven or when it idles, how many miles a truck travels, and more. Prior to ELDs, another type of device allowed the capture of similar data, but these devices were not as robust as the ELDs. At first, the FMCSA allowed some truckers or trucking companies to use the old devices but, according to Logistics Management, that will no longer be allowed.
Some in the trucking industry have opposed the use of ELDs because falsifying records with an ELD is much harder and the ELDs institute a much higher standard when it comes to compliance with the HOS.