Large truck crashes killed 3,660 people in the United States in 2014 alone. Being in a wreck with a big rig is particularly dangerous because of its size and girth. When fully loaded, these monstrous vehicles can weigh “20-30 times as much as passenger cars.” They dwarf other vehicles around them. The federal government is forcing carriers to move to electronic logging devices, known as ELDs. Will these improved logging devices help improve safety?
In a word, yes. ELDs hold much promise to improve safety not only in the trucking industry but in all traffic. The devices will link directly with truck engines, recording information about drive time, idle time, location, mileage, and even engine speed and change.
It is estimated that driver error plays a central role in about 87 percent of crashes that involve big rigs. Several types of mistakes and bad decisions are common and lead to serious crashes, such as these:
- driving fatigued due to inadequate rest;
- deciding to drive while impaired;
- driving while breaking state laws that govern mobile device use; and
- incorrectly judging road or traffic conditions.
Paper logs are supposed to help reduce the likelihood of some of these errors. However, they can only work when drivers follow the laws and rules and fill them out correctly. ELDs, on the other hand, will remove the driver component for many aspects of data collection. Not only will drivers be unable to tamper with the logs, companies will not be able to, either.
Increased accuracy of logs will make it easier for federal and state government agencies to enforce safety laws and rules that apply to the trucking industry. For example, hours of service regulations place strict limits on how many hours truckers may drive before taking a break. No longer will it be easy for truckers or trucking companies to alter important records that shed light on this important issue.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration anticipates that 20 deaths and 434 injuries will be avoided every year after ELDs are implemented, making the roads safer for all of us.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident with a big rig, contact the California accident lawyers at Alexander Law Group, LLP for a free, no obligation consultation. Call 888.777.1776 to speak with an attorney right now.