Efforts to limit the number of truck accidents caused by tired drivers have increased in recent years. Fatigued driving accidents make up roughly one-eighth of all commercial vehicle crashes, according to one recent study. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently passed rules to limit the driving time of commercial truck drivers, while also requiring them to take certain periods of the day off from working in a given week. That rule was based on findings that driver fatigue had more to do with what time of day a driver is operating, rather than on how long the driver has been behind the wheel.
The latest proposal from the FMCSA would require the use of electronic logging devices for interstate commercial trucks and buses. The rule is meant to address the perceived inadequacy of current record-keeping standards. Logbook falsification has been found in a number of high-profile fatal collisions in recent years. In addition, electronic logbooks could help reduce the paperwork problems that have long been associated with hours of service tracking. The FMCSA estimates that the new rule could save 20 lives per year and prevent an additional 434 injuries.
A leading trucking group has long questioned the benefits of electronic record-keeping and has asked the FMCSA to address a major drawback of the technology. Strict adherence to the guidelines of when a driver can drive may cause trucking companies to coerce drivers to operate their vehicles in bad weather, heavy traffic, or during periods when the driver is sick, tired, or otherwise not in the best position to drive safely.
Source: TheTrucker.com, "Breaking news: FMCSA released proposed ELD rule," by The Trucker Staff, 13 March 2014