The public tends to believe that any accident involving an 18-wheeler is the fault of the truck driver. People here in New York and elsewhere look into truck drivers’ logs and attempt to disparage their character by claiming that they were fatigued, distracted or otherwise unfit to be driving. This makes paperless log systems even more important since documenting that a trucker was not any of those things when the accident occurred may get easier.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulation regarding the use of electronic logging devices is in its implementation phase. The final rule was published on Dec. 16, 2016. By Dec. 16, 2017, trucking companies and truck drivers are required to be in compliance with the regulation. The FMCSA is giving those who currently do not use electronic logging devices two years to make sure that everyone is switched over to these devices so that everyone is required to be in compliance by Dec. 16, 2019.
Some drivers may not be happy with this new regulation. They may wonder why their paper logs are not good enough. In reality, paper logs are difficult to verify since someone could claim that the log was “doctored,” and proving that did not happen may be more of a challenge than it should be. An electronic log would presumably remove that doubt.
This could be advantageous to any truck driver and employer facing civil litigation in the aftermath of a crash here in New York. Paperless log systems can verify that a trucker was in compliance with all FMCSA regulations since that issue is often a point of contention. In addition, the systems could provide employers with valuable information to ensure that their drivers remain in compliance as a safety measure, as a condition of employment and a condition of insurance coverage.
Source: fmcsa.dot.gov, “Implementation Timeline“, Aug. 26, 2017