Kansas City, MO- Safety advocates see electronic logs as a way to ensure truck drivers and trucking companies are complying with federal regulations, many of which are aimed at preventing deadly or injurious truck accidents. But there has been push back from the nation’s drivers who fear they would face harassment from the trucking companies. That however may not be the case according to a survey conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
In March, the FMCSA introduced a proposal that would require all commercial trucks be outfitted with electronic logs. These electronic logs, the FMCSA says, will ensure that truck drivers are complying with federal hours-of-service regulations and drivers are getting the rest they need to prevent truck accidents caused by driver fatigue.
The FMCSA says that using electronic logs would make it more difficult for drivers to lie about their hours of service or alter their log books upon a truck company’s request. This the agency says will save 20 lives each year and prevent hundreds of injuries.
Only the FMCSA and law enforcement would have access to the data contained on the electronic log devices during road-side inspections, compliance reviews and post-accident investigations.
The rule will also protect drivers from harassment by imposing an $11,000 fine on a trucking company that encourages a driver to violate hours-of-service rules or work when they are too sick or too tired.
The survey was conducted to waylay the fears of truck drivers before they may be required to utilize these electronic logs next year, according to Trucking Info. Drivers will slowly have to transition from handwritten log books, which can be easily altered, to electronic logs if the FMCSA moves forward with the requirement.
According to Trucking Info, the FMCSA surveyed truck drivers and carriers, inquiring about the frequency and types of interactions they face. Drivers were presented with examples of interactions they may encounter and asked whether they believed they were subjected to harassment.
Less than 30 percent of participants said they felt harassed while 42 percent said they perceived no harassment at all, according to Trucking Info.
Drivers considered interrupting a driver when they are off duty, asking them to work when they are tired or alter their log books as harassment more so than other situations presented to them for the survey.
“The evidence in this survey research does not support concluding that harassment occurs due to being in a situation where [hours of service] are logged using ELDs,” the agency said.
Because there is little evidence that electronic log devices would lead to an increase in driver harassment, the FMCSA is expected to implement the rules they proposed in March.
In the aftermath of truck accident, these electronic logs can offer valuable information to law enforcement and can play a crucial role in truck accident investigations. These devices are also beneficial to truck accident attorneys and the victims they represent by giving then insight into the cause of an accident and who is at fault.