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U.S. truck drivers have two years to switch to electronic logging devices

While still fairly rare, when they do occur, serious traffic accidents involving large commercial trucks often have deadly outcomes. Common causes of accidents involving commercial trucks include poorly maintained vehicles, driver fatigue and drug and alcohol use. In an effort to reduce these types of accidents, federal officials have instituted numerous laws and rules that govern the commercial trucking industry.

In recent years, among one of the most talked about and controversial rules are those related to the use of electronic logging devices by commercial truckers. While not previously mandated, many trucking companies began switching over to ELDs to avoid suspicion and scrutiny related to the number of hours drivers worked as well as when maintenance and inspection checks were performed.

Previously, there were reports of rampant fraud and forgery of drivers' paper logbooks. Drivers could easily change or omit certain entries to appease inspectors and were rarely held accountable for these actions. More recently U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, announced that as of December 2017, all truck drivers will be required to switch over to record keeping practices that comply with the newly adopted ELD requirements.

While proposals mandating the use of ELDs have previously been discussed, this marks the first time that such a law actually passed and will officially go into effect. In past arguments against the use of ELDs, truck drivers spoke of the potential unintended consequences associated with the use of ELDs. Most notably, drivers openly discussed fears that the devices could be used by employers to track and ultimately harass and push drivers to work faster and longer. However, federal officials were quick to dismiss these fears, arguing that they will have the power to take enforcement actions against employers and others who violate the law.

Source: Trucking info., "FMCSA Announces Electronic Logs Mandate," Dec. 10, 2015

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