Truck driver fatigue is a huge safety issue and it has been for decades. Truck drivers are constantly under pressure to meet impossible deadlines and sometimes they feel forced to sacrifice sleep to meet those deadlines. Driver fatigue has been the cause of many truck driving crashes, so The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed new rules that put rigorous restrictions on how long truck drivers can work, when they must take breaks, and when they must stop working to rest before they can restart their work day. Those Hours of service (HOS) regulations were difficult to enforce because drivers kept paper logs.
Since 1938, commercial truck drivers have used those paper logs (records of duty status) to track their drive time, breaks, when they end their work day and begin the next and other details about fueling, maintenance and inspections. The new mandate for Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) is good news because it will have benefits for truckers, fleet operators and the driving public.
What is an ELD?
An ELD is a device that a truck driver can connect to the ECM (electronic control module) of the truck so that it can automatically track the driver’s HOS compliance. By December 2017, all truck drivers who are now required to maintain RODS paper logs must use an ELD.
What are the safety benefits of electronic logging devices for trucks?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a study on the safety benefits of ELDs and what they found was:
- For all crash types, trucks equipped with ELDs had an 11.7% lower crash rate than trucks that were not so equipped
- Trucks with ELDs had a 51% lower preventable crash rates than trucks without ELDs
- Drivers of trucks equipped with ELDs had 53% fewer driving-related HOS violation risk
- The FMCSA estimates that 26 lives will be saved each year because of the increased safety from using ELDs
The requirement for most commercial truck drivers to use ELDs or face penalties is good news for the driving public which must share the highways with tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers. If they live up to their promise, having ELDs installed in trucks will help significantly reduce the number of truck crashes caused by truck driver fatigue.
When truck drivers violate HOS rules and drive when they are exhausted, it is a formula for disaster. If you were injured in a truck crash that was caused by driver fatigue, we can help. At Gainsberg Law, P.C., our Chicago truck accident attorneys bring and personal injury claims against the truck driver and the owners of the truck when appropriate. You are encouraged to call our office at 312.313.1621 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation now.