Commercial truck accidents are still a major problem on U.S. roads. Despite a projected decrease in the number of automobile-related fatalities in 2019, trucks were involved in more fatal accidents in 2019.
Lockdowns due to COVID-19 reduced traffic all over the country, and yet traffic fatalities have risen. Authorities believe this is because people are driving more recklessly on the empty roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also estimates that highway deaths could continue to rise as post-pandemic roadway use increases.
To lower the rising number of truck accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) passed a law that truck carriers must install electronic logging devices (ELDs) in all their trucks by December 2017.
So what are ELDs, how to they work, and have they helped prevent truck accidents?
What Are ELDs and How Do They Work To Prevent Truck Accidents?
ELDs are devices that synchronize with the engine of a commercial truck to record driving time and rest time so that drivers are compliant with the hours of service (HOS) regulations that govern how many hours they can drive before taking a break.
In the past, many truck carriers relied on paper logs that their drivers would fill out on a daily basis, indicating their driving time and their rest time.
The problem, however, was that some drivers falsified these paper logs. They would claim to be resting when they were actually driving on the road.
This meant that some drivers were compromised by fatigue because they had not taken the required rest breaks, and fatigued truck drivers are among the leading causes of truck accidents.
In addition to driving and rest time, ELDs also record date, time, location information, engine hours, vehicle miles, and contact information for the driver and carrier.
ELDs cannot be falsified, and the information they record is transmitted to carriers who can better monitor their drivers. Some ELDs also send out alerts or notifications when a driver is nearing the HOS limits, indicating that they need to take a rest.
This can influence trucker behavior, since many will know that they are being monitored. This can prevent incidents with aggressive truck drivers or drivers who are cutting corners because they know their employers and government officials are monitoring them.
ELDs are designed to give carriers and drivers more transparency in how they handle the rest and driving periods during a delivery, and to help carriers correct driver mistakes that they observe on recorded video.
By helping drivers adhere to rest rules, the goal is to eliminate driver fatigue as a major factor in truck accidents.
Have ELDs Had an Effect on Truck Accidents?
As stated above, fatal truck crashes have gone up between 2017 and 2018. However, looking at the data on the FMCSA’s website tells us that overall truck accident came down over the same time period. This suggests the ELD requirement is having and effect. However, despite a lowering of crash numbers, we still have an increase in fatal crashes.
Other measures may be necessary to help prevent truck accident fatalities. New studies suggest that automatic braking and collision warning technology may be the next step.
Sherman Truck Accident Attorney Helping You Recover
Surviving a truck accident is minor miracle, and as you go through the recovery process, the last thing you want to worry about is your legal claim. But if you hire an experienced law firm such as the team at David K. Wilson & Associates, you will have a powerful advocate who has the resources and expertise to fight big insurance and obtain the settlement you rightfully deserve. Call us today at (903) 870-9050 for a free legal consultation and find out how we can help you get peace of mind.