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Truck drivers protest FMCSA logging device mandate

Independent truck drivers in Oklahoma and around the country have voiced concerns about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Electronic Logging Device mandate. The measure, which is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 18, requires devices to be fitted to most commercial vehicles that log the amount of hours truck drivers spend behind the wheel. The FMCSA says that the mandate will reduce the number of hours of service violations and improve road safety, but truck drivers say that logging devices violate their privacy rights and allow the government to track them around the clock.

Truck drivers across the country made their views known on Dec. 4 in a nationwide protest organized by the United Independent Truckers of America. In addition to privacy concerns, the trade group says that the FMCSA mandate will impact truck driver earnings. The electronic logging devices mandated by the FMCSA measure are connected to commercial vehicle engines and keep track of when trucks are moving, which drivers say could prevent them from being paid when their tractor-trailers are being loaded and unloaded.

A second protest is planned by the UITA to coincide with the measure’s implementation date, but industry experts do not expect the FMCSA to be swayed. The agency says that logging devices will make it more difficult to alter the paper hours of service logs currently in use and prevent hundreds of truck accidents each year caused by overworked and fatigued drivers.

Accidents involving truck drivers who fell asleep while behind the wheel often result in catastrophic or fatal injuries, and experienced attorneys will often examine hours of service records carefully when preparing to initiate litigation on behalf of those who have been harmed in such crashes. When this type of scrutiny reveals that federal regulations may have been routinely violated, attorneys could file lawsuits against trucking companies as well as negligent truck drivers.