According to Fleet America, “70 percent of American goods are transported via semi-trucks.” With the high demand for trucks, drivers are pushed to deliver goods across the United States under strict deadlines. In order to meet these deadlines and increase productivity, truckers will, oftentimes, continue driving despite feeling fatigued, which can lead to fatal accidents.
While many trucks have electronic logging devices (ELDs) intended to record drivers’ break times and encourage them to rest on long drives, it doesn’t always prevent them from breaking the rules. In fact, questions have been raised as to whether ELDs help reduce truck accidents at all.
At Harris & Graves, we are dedicated to helping injured victims fight for their legal rights. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. To learn more about your legal options, contact our South Carolina truck accident lawyers.
What’s an Electronic Logging Device?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle’s engine to automatically record a driver’s off-duty and on-duty time and securely transfer HOS (hours of service) data to a safety official.”
The FMCSA stated that the ELD records the following data:
- Engine power status
- Vehicle motion status
- Miles driven
- Engine hours
- Identification of driver/authorized user, vehicle, and motor carrier
- Duty status
Once the data is collected, safety officials are able to review the above information to determine whether or not a driver received enough rest to operate their commercial truck safely. While this form of monitoring is designed to encourage truck drivers to follow safe driving practices, studies have found that this system has failed to reduce trucking accidents.
Are ELDs Causing More Harm Than Good?
In 2017, the FMCSA created a mandate that required most truck drivers to track their hours by implementing ELDs. On April 1, 2018, the FMCSA increased penalties for drivers who operate their trucks without ELDs. The purpose of ELDs is to reduce driver fatigue and increase road safety. While the devices have pushed drivers to take their mandatory breaks, there is no sign of a reduction in truck accidents.
A report that reviewed recent inspection and crash data collected by the FMCSA stated, “We show the mandate clearly achieved its first-order effect: Drivers increased their compliance with HOS regulations. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the number of accidents decreased.”
Although well-intentioned, the ELDs force many truck drivers to either violate the hours of service rule or fail to meet their strict delivery deadlines. This decision has caused many truckers to speed, so they can both rest and meet their deadline, calling into question whether ELDs cause more harm than good.
Steve Manly, who has been driving a truck for over 20 years, told Business Insider, “The electronic logs are supposed to make it safer, but really it has created a hazardous race to beat the clock. Drivers are now more reckless than ever trying to make it to their destination before the clock runs out with mandatory breaks and such.”
In the event that you find yourself in a trucking collision due to a trucker’s careless behavior, it’s essential that you know how to proceed.
4 Steps to Take After a Tractor-Trailer Accident
The moments after a commercial truck accident are imperative should you decide to seek compensation for damages later on. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a trucking accident, keep these steps in mind in the moments following your accident to protect your legal rights:
- Contact emergency responders.
- Seek medical attention after reporting the collision. Failure to be seen by a medical professional can damage your chances of obtaining compensation.
- Make sure to document everything related to your wreck. This can include photos of the accident scene and your injuries, medical bills, and pay stubs.
- Contact an experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyer who can help guide you through the legal process. This type of case is complex and time-consuming, which is why it’s in your best interest to enlist legal representation.
Is Compensation Available After a Semi-Truck Collision?
Due to their massive size and weight, truck crashes typically result in severe injuries and even death. Depending on the severity of your injury and/or injuries, compensation may be available for damages. Keep in mind that every truck accident case is unique, so results will vary. If you are entitled to compensation, the amount will be calculated based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Compensation can include the following:
Some injuries may require extensive medical treatment, which can lead to higher medical bills. Compensation may be awarded to cover any treatment that is required for your recovery.
If your injury restricts your ability to work, or you’re forced to take time off to attend doctor’s appointments, you may be compensated for any lost wages.
Pain and Suffering
In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, compensation can help cover any emotional and mental damage you suffered as a result of your accident.
Loss of Enjoyment
This is compensation for the things that you enjoy doing, but can no longer do or were not able to do for a time after your injury.
These are damages resulting from an injury that will last throughout one’s lifetime. This can include loss of physical or mental function or disfigurements like scarring or burns.
Future Medical Expenses
Medical expenses that might be incurred in the future are important to recover in order to pay the costs over the lifetime of the injured victim.
These are damages suffered by the family members of a person who is deceased as a result of injuries in a truck wreck. These damages are meant to compensate the family for the loss of their family member by way of both economic damages and emotional loss and grief.
We know that compensation cannot repair the damage that has already been done to your life. However, it can alleviate some of the expenses associated with your injuries and help you begin to move forward.
Contact Our Experienced Attorneys
Since electronic logging devices do not entirely prevent truck accidents, it’s important to know that you have legal rights in the event of an accident. Harris & Graves, a personal injury law firm in South Carolina, is passionate about helping injured victims obtain the compensation they are rightfully owed.
Our team understands the stress and frustration that injured victims face after being hurt in a truck accident. For this reason, we strive to help our clients seek justice and receive every penny they deserve.
Truck accidents typically result in extensive damage and serious injuries. This is why we highly recommend that you put our experienced South Carolina truck accident lawyers on your side.