Electronic logging devices, or ELDs, have been the topic of a number of controversies between the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and numerous trucking associations in recent years. Safety organizations suggest that these devices, which log driver hours and provide other important vehicle data, could be instrumental in reducing costly and deadly truck accidents.
With the current law stating that all trucks must be equipped with ELDs by December of 2017, the arguments continue; however, a new concern has been brought to light. Truck accident attorneys find that ELDs may complicate accident investigations due to current regulations regarding how some of this data can be used.
The Purpose of Electronic Logging Devices
ELDs are a part of the battle against truck accidents and were designed to log driver hours as a means of cracking down on the number of operators who spend too many hours behind the wheel without adequate rest. These devices record when trucks are in operation along with the number of off-hours for drivers, which is time that is presumably spent sleeping and resting. They also record other important data, such as details about the vehicle's various systems while it is in operation as well as braking and steering data.
Inclusively, ELDs record many details that are very useful and are used for monitoring operator hours as well as researching events and conditions prior to crashes. This information is critical for truck accident attorneys who investigate accident causation, which is required to accurately determine fault.
Will ELDs Help or Hinder Truck Accident Investigations?
Even though ELDs do record vital vehicle information like steering and braking data, this data will not be readily available to law enforcement personnel who are investigating truck accidents according to the FMCSA. Local criminal investigations must continue to be done without this essential data that could simplify these investigations and reduce the incidence of investigation errors.
Truck accident attorneys are well aware that information regarding steering and braking just prior to a crash can shed important light on what actually happened and why. Yet even though this information will be tracked on all commercial trucks beginning in December of 2017, it will not automatically be available for crash investigations, at least not without a fight.
Accident Attorneys - More Important Than Ever
What this means for victims of truck crashes is that it is more important than ever to work with experienced truck accident attorneys who can fight to have this information made available. In order to access this potentially helpful investigative information, it will be necessary to present evidence that contradicts local accident reports before the data can be legally released. Obtaining this information will require skillful investigation, proper evidence collection, and strong negotiating skills.
Based on the latest information, it seems the introduction of ELDs offers a great deal of positive potential, such as the reduction of truck accidents; however, it does have its share of negative points. Even though all of these devices will record critical crash data, including steering and braking information, accident victims will have to fight to gain access to it. For this and many other reasons, those involved in tractor trailer crashes should always enlist the assistance of experienced truck accident attorneys for the best outcome for any injury case!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190