Drowsy driving can result in many similar effects to driving while drunk, including delayed reaction times and impaired judgement. In some cases, truck drivers fall asleep and lose complete control of their vehicles. When it is a truck driver behind the wheel of a big rig that could weigh 80,000 pounds or more, the idea that a trucker could fall asleep and lose control is horrifying.
There are strict federal regulations, called Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which limits the hours that truckers can drive on a daily and weekly basis. These rules aim to ensure truck drivers get plenty of sleep so they are not fatigued while driving. However, there are concerns some truckers don't keep their log books correctly, either due to carelessness, or intentionally to afford themselves the opportunity to drive longer. Some truckers are also pressured by employers to drive for longer than allowed and to doctor paperwork, as there is a shortage of truckers and employers still want deliveries to be made on time.
If a log book is not kept properly and drivers travel for too long, this could increase the risks of a fatigued driving accident. A new rule has been put into effect to try to prevent this, and Over Drive Online indicates the new rule is expected to take effect in December of 2017.
Stopping Drowsy Driving Tucking Accidents Through Electronic Logging
The new rule going into effect in December 2017 requires that trucker drive time be tracked via electronic devices, rather than on paper in log books. The design and functionality of the devices will prevent tampering, essentially making it impossible for false information to be provided regarding whether a driver is limiting his daily driving hours and getting enough rest.
The mandate is called the Electronic Device Mandate, or ELD mandate, and it is applicable for all drivers who are required by law to track their hours on duty. However, there are a few limited exceptions. Drivers who travel eight days or less over 30 working days aren't required to install electronic logging devices. Drivers operating vehicles model year 2000 or older, and drivers in tow operations and drive away operations are also not covered by the mandate. For all other truckers, the electronic device has to be installed by December 16, 2017 and drivers must begin using the electronic logging technology by the same date. This date is two years from the time the new rule was published.
Hopefully, the electronic devices will deter drivers from traveling for too many hours and help prevent trucking crashes from happening. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) claims the rule could save 26 people annually and could prevent 562 truck accident injuries every single year, while also saving the trucking industry a collective $1 million in saved time and paperwork compliance.