January 26, 2019

Los Angeles roads are filled with truck drivers transporting goods across the state, across the country, and between countries from Mexico to Canada and those truck drivers are subject to federal and state regulations. Los Angeles truck accident attorneys have carefully monitored the new Electronic Logging Device (“ELD”) mandates for recording truck drivers’ Hours of Service. California has been slow to move on intrastate (truck drivers that operate only within the state) ELD mandates but has recently set a deadline requiring intrastate trucks to be equipped with ELDs by December 31, 2020.

Hours of service requirements

Hours of service requirements and restrictions are placed on commercial vehicle drivers in an effort to keep drivers from suffering fatigue and avoiding resulting accidents. In general, interstate drivers are limited to 11 hours of drive time and 14 hour shifts, meaning three of those hours could be spent working to load and unload the truck, but not driving. In the past it was more difficult to monitor hours worked and records could easily be falsified, but the ELD mandate has changed everything.

ELD requirements and functions

The ELD mandate required most interstate commercial vehicles to switch over to ELD by December 18, 2018, but there is an exception for specific devices that are grandfathered in and those devices may be used until December 16, 2019. ELDs connect to the truck’s engine to track and record when the truck is in motion. They display Record of Duty Status to drivers so they can easily see how many hours they have spent driving and they are capable of electronically transmitting recorded data to law enforcement agencies in several different ways.

ELDs make it much more difficult for drivers to falsify their records and more drive information is available to people reviewing the logs. Drivers have the ability to edit their hours of service. Edit means that they can change specifics in their hours of service logs, but those edits will not delete the original information. This is important for accident investigations so that investigators may compare the original records to edited records to determine if records were falsified and there were many hours of service violations.

Importance of hours of service violations as evidence

When commercial truck accidents occur, it is critical to conduct an investigation into the truck driver and truck company’s compliance with state and federal regulations. Evidence of violations and noncompliance can be used to prove negligence and liability in truck accidents. Hours of Service regulations are frequently violated by truck drivers and often times it is due to employer truck companies encouraging those violations.

Truck drivers and their employers can be liable for trucking accidents, especially when egregious violations can be proved. If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact a Los Angeles truck accident attorney at JML Law to discuss your claim. Our experienced truck accident attorneys are commercial vehicle regulation experts, experienced investigators, and advocates for truck accident victims who have sustained injuries and damages caused by truck drivers and their employers.