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New federal rule to require electronic recording devices for hours of service compliance

On behalf of Noland Law Firm, LLC posted in truck accidents on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

In a recent post, we looked briefly at the federal hours of service rules, and noted that a recent change to the rules could help ensure better compliance in the trucking industry. That change pertains to the way compliance with the hours of service rules is recorded.

Under a new rule recently announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial trucks and buses would be required to install electronic logging devices for recording compliance, rather than using the paper logs that have been required up until now. The industry is expected to come into compliance with the rule by December 16, 2017, though the rule doesn’t apply for drivers using vehicles manufactured before 2000, and truckers who already have electronic recording devices are allowed to use them for two additional years before coming into full compliance with the new rule. 

According to the FMCSA, requiring the use of electronic recording devices will help authorities to better monitor compliance, since drivers would have a harder time tampering with records. That’s because electronic recording devices automatically record driving time. When truck and bus drivers do become involved in an accident, it will theoretically therefore be easier for authorities to immediately know whether they were in compliance with federal rules at the time of the crash.

The FMCSA expects that the rule will help improve highway safety due to better actual compliance with federal rules. We’ll have to wait and see, though, what the exact effect will be and how commercial drivers deal with the implementation and enforcement of the rule. 

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