I often hear trucking companies and truck drivers complain that electronic logging devices don’t leave room to accommodate real-life driving situations. When I hear comments like that, I interpret it to mean, “ELDs keep me from being able to fudge my log books.”
Like it or not, ELDs are taking a foothold. Trucking industry studies indicate that, more and more, trucking companies are increasing their use of ELDs, perhaps in anticipation of a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandate that appears inevitable. The latest indicator is a study from Transport Capital Partners, which shows that 35 percent of carriers are already using electronic logging devices. That number is up from 25 percent in early 2012.
Even more encouraging, about 66 percent of the surveyed trucking companies reported that they were currently testing ELD devices in their trucks and another 10 percent are considering using ELDs but have not yet begun to do so.
Naturally, larger trucking companies are using ELDs more than smaller companies. According to the TCP report, 43 percent of carriers with $25 million or more in annual revenue are utilizing ELDs, while only 29% of smaller carriers – which sometimes lack the financial resources necessary to install new equipment – are using them.
In our view, this is all good news. I firmly believe that most truck drivers are honest, but during my years as a truck accident attorney I’ve seen drivers keep double, and even triple, log books. I once tried a case in which a driver kept an original log and a forged log, and remarkably both showed him over his hours-of-service limit.
Statistics like those from TCP offer proof that the trucking industry is on the right road. The FMCSA mandate is surely coming, and when it does it will provide greater accountability and verifiability to the trucking industry. Maybe by then, most trucking companies and truck drivers won’t even feel its impact.
Attorney Michael Leizerman represents victims of catastrophic truck crashes. If you or a family member has been injured in a crash involving a commercial vehicle, contact Michael at 800-628-4500.