Louisiana commercial truck drivers will now be required by the federal government to log their hours electronically. The rule is designed to combat the problem of drivers skirting existing federal regulations by keeping inaccurate hours in their written logbooks.
The new rule, announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will require trucking companies to install electronic logging devices in the trucks in their fleets. These devices will log hours by monitoring when the engine is turned on, when the truck moves , where the truck is located and how many miles the truck is driven. It is scheduled to go into effect in February 2016, with full implementation by companies required within two years.
Written logbooks for commercial drivers have been required since 1938. The government indicated that the electronic logging device requirement is needed because drivers sometimes keep two logbooks or alter entries to evade existing regulations. The electronic devices are reportedly much more difficult to tamper with, and the FMCSA believes they will save up to 26 lives every year in the country. The agency has also estimated that the devices will prevent more than 560 people from being injured in commercial vehicle accidents on an annual basis.
The commercial trucking industry is heavily regulated because of the potentially catastrophic and deadly accidents that can result. When truck drivers drive longer than the federal driving hour regulations, they risk both themselves and others because of the potential for truck driver fatigue. Because commercial trucks are so large and heavy, the physical forces involved when they are in accidents can result in serious personal injuries and deaths. A person who has been seriously injured in such an accident because of a negligent truck driver may want to seek damages from both the driver and the trucking company itself in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit brought with the assistance of an attorney.