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Truckers protest in response to new ELD mandate

On Dec. 18, a federal mandate designed to more accurately log and monitor truck drivers is scheduled to go into effect nationwide. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, new Electronic Logging Devices will help keep fatigued truckers off the roadway, potentially preventing hundreds of crashes each year. However, at least one trade organization official claims that the ELDs are a violation of privacy that could compromise driver safety in Missouri and across the country.

Arguing that it has little to do with safety, opponents say that the mandate is really the government's attempt to put small trucking companies out of business. Citing unfairness to the truckers, the president of the United Independent Truckers of America says that the devices will allow the federal government to track drivers 24 hours a day. Fear that the mandate will lead to a loss of income for independent truckers is also a major concern.

Although larger carriers are already using electronic devices instead of paper logs, independent truckers protested the mandated switch to the new system on Dec. 4. A truck stoppage is now set to take place on the day that the new mandate is scheduled to take effect.

Because an ELD links to a truck's engine, the amount of time that each trucker spends at the wheel will be continuously recorded, managed and shared. Hard data relating to the number of truck accidents that may be prevented as a result of the mandate may not yet be available, but trucking crashes attributable to fatigued driving may remain a possibility in some situations. Motorists in Missouri who are seriously injured in these collisions may want to pursue justice in the form of damages in civil court. An attorney whose practice of law is focused in the area of personal injury could help an injured client navigate the legal process.

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