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FMCSA begins hard enforcement of ELD mandate in April

Commercial truck drivers in Illinois and elsewhere in the U.S. may be struggling to comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation's mandate that their trucks come with electronic logging devices to record their duty status. They should know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been providing truckers with a period of soft enforcement ever since the mandate was implemented in December 2017.

This period of soft enforcement ends on April 1, 2018. Up to this point, the FMCSA has been conducting inspections and noting violations of the mandate without lowering the truckers' Compliance, Safety, Accountability scores. So far, only 4 percent of all inspected truckers have been cited for not having an ELD.

In a media update, the FMCSA has explained in further detail what the out-of-service and return-to-duty status procedures will be like starting April 1. Truckers who are cited after this period will be ordered to remain off duty for 10 service hours; afterward, provided that their truck contains a paper log, they are allowed to return to work and make their delivery. However, they will not be allowed to make another trip until they install an ELD. As for livestock and agricultural haulers, they have until June 18 to install ELDs.

Truck driver fatigue is a major cause of accidents because truck drivers are often overworked and may even be encouraged to go over the allowable number of service hours per day in order to make a delivery. Such violations could be caught by an ELD and serve as evidence when an accident victim wants to file a claim against the trucking company. Accident attorneys may have investigators they can turn to and help negotiate for settlements on their clients' behalf, litigating only as a last resort.

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