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Why Do We Need the ELD Rule for Commercial Trucks?

Brandon Evans   |  December 29, 2017   |  

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Commercial trucks are some of the largest vehicles on the road. When these massive vehicles are fully loaded, they can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Department of Transportation regulations are designed to prevent these vehicles from posing a risk to the public. The impact force is devastating when a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds crashes into other objects or vehicles at high speeds.

Some truck accidents are caused by drowsy driving. Hours of service rules exist to prevent instances of drowsy driving accidents. These are rules that dictate how long commercial drivers can operate their vehicles.  In addition, most companies have policies in place to test drivers (usually with a blood or urine sample) of tractor trailers that are involved in truck accidents.

For many years, commercial truckers kept paper logbooks to show roadside inspectors or their employers that they were complying with hours of service rules. The new mandatory electronic logging device rule (ELD rule), which went into effect on December 18, simplifies this process and protects the public. ELDs automatically record driving data from the engine. This means less paperwork for commercial truckers. It also means it is more difficult to violate hours of service rules.

Could Other Regulations Prevent Drowsy Driving Accidents?

Hours of service violations are only one of several reasons why commercial truckers may cause drowsy driving accidents. Undiagnosed medical conditions can cause drowsiness, such as obstructive sleep apnea. Commercial carriers could have been required to test drivers who were at medium to high-risk of having the condition. There are multiple treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. The use of a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP device) is one of the most common treatments.

In August, the Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration withdrew from a plan that would have identified and tested commercial drivers and railroad employees who were at-risk of having the condition. For now, it remains up to Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examiners and commercial carriers to test for sleep apnea.

Injured in a commercial trucking accident? The North Carolina truck accident lawyers at Riddle & Brantley, LLP have experience helping victims of truck crashes. We also represent commercial drivers who were injured on the job.

At Riddle & Brantley, LLP, Safety Counts.