A truck’s log book is a very important source of information that is often used to analyze an accident involving an 18 wheeler. These required logs hold vital notes about a truck and its driver, such as the number of miles driven, hours spent driving, and other details, making them one of many tools used to determine the cause of an I-45 tractor trailer accident. Log books also show when a driver has driven too many hours or not spent enough time off the road, which sometimes encourages drivers to falsify such records. Because of this, the DOT is working to make electronic logbooks mandatory, to prevent the falsification of records and help increase driver compliance. This should help reduce the number of trucking accidents, including I-45 fatal truck wrecks.
The Importance of Driver Log Books
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) requires that no commercial truck driver exceed a certain number of driving hours per day, per week – combined with a certain number of off hours – to reduce the chance of 18-wheeler accidents (including tractor trailer accidents on I-45), caused by driver fatigue. Compliance with these rules is maintained through log books, which are required in every truck, and must be used by every driver to document their driving hours, miles on the road, and other related details.
Dishonesty and Danger with Paper Log Books
Log books are essential for determining whether a driver is in compliance with the FMCSA rules or if they are ignoring the laws. This has created a situation where some drivers are modifying their log books. Not only is this illegal and putting both the driver and company at risk for citations, it is dangerous when drivers do not get enough rest and attempt to stay on the road. While it is not suggested that every truck driver falsifies their log book, the few that do can create a dangerous situation for everyone on the road, possibly causing truck wrecks, which may be fatal – especially on I-45. In response to this growing problem, the DOT will begin to require that driver logs be electronic, which will make them relatively tamper-proof.
Electronic Log Books Increase Driver Compliance
Electronic logging devices (ELD) are wired into on-board telematics as well as other devices already present in most trucks, downloading necessary information. Drivers must log on and off in accordance with their driving hours and miles. The ELD will track how many hours and miles a driver is on the road. Because they are tied into other electronics, it is virtually impossible for records to be modified, so drivers have no choice but to comply with hour limitations or it will show up on their records.
The DOT expects to have the rule mandating the use of electronic driver logs released by September of 2015, with a mandatory compliance date approximately two years later. In the meantime, every trucking company should begin to determine how to implement this new rule instituted to help prevent a tractor trailer accident on I-45 and other highways. Almost every accident involving an 18 wheeler that occurs on the roads today, is preventable if drivers are more aware and safe. The change to electronic log books is yet another important step in preventing one more fatal truck wreck caused by driver error!
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