Fatigued truck driving is one of the leading causes of large truck accidents every year.
In many cases, drivers become fatigued as a result of trying to transport as many loads as possible in the shortest amount of time. This is because the drivers are paid either by the load or by the mile traveled. Unfortunately, the system in place results in truck drivers pushing themselves to the point of not being able to function safely behind the wheel.
Although there are laws in place that limit the amount of time a truck driver is permitted to drive, there are drivers and truck companies that choose not to follow the rules. To get around the law requiring truck drivers to rest after a certain amount of hours, some drivers falsify the driving log books they are required to keep. And there are truck companies that either encourage this practice or look the other way when it happens.
In 2017, they won’t be able to do this any longer.
Digital Logbooks to Replace Paper Ones
Last year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration approved a new rule that will now require most truck drivers use an electronic log book to track both driving and resting periods. These logbooks are required to be in trucks no later than the end of 2017.
This new rule is unpopular with many truckers and truck companies because of the expense, but it is being hailed by truck safety experts as an important step in safety for everyone:
“I think it’s a landmark decision for the trucking industry,” said Bret Nester, safety director for Reynolds Nationwide. “It’s going to improve the safety of the motoring public and our drivers, help with compliance, and supply real-time data.”
“What’s going to happen is drivers are going to be more readily caught,” said Nick Wingerter, CEO of San Antonio-based consulting firm Truck Safety 1. “The (ELDs) enhance the ability of highway enforcement officials because they don’t have to do manual inspections of a driver’s handwritten log book. That’s where it’s really great in helping the safety of the highways.”
Anything that will help decrease truck driver fatigue and protect other drivers on the road is a step in the right direction.