Electronic logging devices have become increasingly common in recent years. This is due to action from Congress requiring any interstate vehicles to have the device readily accessible. This piece of equipment provides the fleet manager with useful information relevant to the driver’s habits, such as time spent idling and whether the driver has engaged in any dangerous behavior.
However, ELDs are also useful for limiting the truck driver’s liability in the event the big rig ends up in a collision. In the past, the truck driver and company would hold most of the liability because the driver was in control of the more dangerous vehicle. These days, trucking companies can limit their liability by presenting information provided by the electronic logging device to the court to show the truck driver was responsible behind the wheel.
Years ago, trucking companies would have to input critical information by hand, which means the driver had to log his or her own hours. When this information comes up at court, the opposing side could argue the driver lied about working fewer hours to get out of a fatigued claim. Information from the ELD cannot change, and it serves as more prudent evidence in a court of law.
Drivers are more prone to driving safely, but it’s no guarantee
With the implementation of ELDs, truck drivers know managers monitor them constantly. This means the driver is far less likely to engage in risky behavior, such as driving when tired or speeding excessively. An electronic logging device also stores how fast the vehicle went at any given time, so if the driver speeds, then the manager will know immediately.
Since the drivers are being safer on their own, then there is a reduced likelihood of the company dealing with a lawsuit. However, this does not mean that trucking accidents do not still occur. Sometimes, truckers are still negligent or reckless behind the wheel, the truck is improperly loaded or maintained, or other issues lead to crashes.