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After a truck accident, most victims have a lot of questions about the truck driver’s liability. You may suspect that the trucker was driving while drowsy, or that they being pressured to work long hours by their employer. In these cases, their logbooks may be essential to uncovering the truth.
Nearly every truck on the road must keep logs of their driving hours, vehicle maintenance, and other issues. In 2020, the rules concerning these logbooks changed dramatically. Learn how these developments could help strengthen your injury claims.
Trucking companies are required to keep records of their trucks and drivers’ activities. Until December of 2019, those records could be handwritten notes on their hours driven, the amount of time spent resting, how long the engine was running, and more. However, as of December 2019, truckers must follow a new federal rule that requires electronic tracking using a device called an ELD (electronic logging device). These machines record everything without much driver interaction, making it difficult (but not impossible) to fake.
While some trucks are still exempt from ELDs, they are a critical piece of safety equipment for truckers, trucking companies, and everyday drivers on Alabama roads.
In the past, irresponsible drivers got away with reckless driving habits using fake records. Unlike paper logs, electronic records track everything as it happens: when the truck is moving, how fast, and for how long. If a driver is behind the wheel for more hours than they’re allowed to drive, they cannot easily lie in their handwritten log. Now that trucks must be equipped with an ELD, it will be easier to identify and curb dangerous behavior.
However, that doesn’t mean that ELDs will completely eliminate fraudulent logbooks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s administrator, Jim Mullen, admits that there is evidence of ELD abuse and fraud. Our attorneys are carefully monitoring these issues and how the FMCSA will address potential fraudulent logbooks.
Trucking companies function on tight margins, and they often fight regulations and rules that push them to spend money or operate more safely. Many argued that installing an ELD in each and every truck was just too burdensome for the industry.
However, some unscrupulous trucking companies weren’t just concerned about the cost of these devices. ELDs make it challenging to cover up or disguise dangerous driving habits that cause crashes and serious injuries. For trucking companies with shady pasts and questionable practices, the new ELD mandate was unwelcome news.
For victims hurt in big truck crashes on Alabama roads, ELDs are an essential piece of evidence. Truck drivers and their companies can get in big trouble for violating their hours of service, speeding, and other industry regulations. When these violations contribute to a crash, the evidence recorded by the ELDs helps ensure victims get the compensation they deserve.
Alabama has a legal rule, called “negligence per se,” that streamlines your legal claims when regulatory violations cause a truck accident. However, you’ll need proof of these violations – your word alone will not be enough.
Electronic logs are essential pieces of evidence a victim can have on their side after a crash. However, trucking companies are legally allowed to erase certain records after a period of time, meaning those critical records could disappear. Typically, trucking companies can destroy ELD records and logbooks after six months.
If you’ve been hurt in a truck crash, it’s in your best interest to talk to an attorney right away to both understand your options and begin to secure evidence that would otherwise be lost.
After a truck crash, evidence can quickly disappear. That’s why you need a team of attorneys dedicated to working fast to protect the evidence, your case, and your rights. The Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys team has experience fighting for victims hurt by dangerous truck drivers, and we’re proud of our reputation for success. To learn more about your options after a crash, schedule a free, confidential case review with one of our team members. We can meet with you remotely, so you don’t even have to leave your home to get answers. Simply call our office at 251-888-8888 or complete our online contact form to set up your consultation.
ELD fact sheet – English version. (2017, October 31). Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/eld-fact-sheet-english-version
FMCSA ready to work with industry on rule-breaking ELDs: Mullen. (2020, March 5). s: Mullen. (2020, March 5). Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved from https://finance.yahoo.com/news/fmcsa-ready-industry-rule-breaking-135756250.html
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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