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Can ELDs Help Prevent Trucking Accidents?

a tractor-trailer crash on the side of the road

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation 2021 crash report, large trucks were involved in 11,406 accidents last year. To help combat the ever-present risk of being involved in a trucking collision, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2019, required all eligible vehicles to be installed with devices that can track specific trucking data. These devices are electronic logging devices.

What Are Electronic Logging Devices?

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are devices installed on a truck's engine that truck drivers and their employers use to record their hours of service (HOS), among other data. These devices help trucking companies ensure that their truck drivers are taking the required breaks and not driving for extended periods of time. This is extremely important as fatigue remains a leading cause of truck accidents.

Trucking Fatigue Statistics

Truck driver fatigue is a serious problem that can lead to devastating accidents. Drowsy truck drivers are more likely to make mistakes, which can have catastrophic consequences.

How Do ELDs Benefit Road Safety?

While many do not think of "safety" when they hear the term "electronic logging devices," they can actually play a vital role in helping to keep our roads safe.

Truck Driver Accountability

Prior to the implementation of ELDs, paper log books were used to track a driver's Hours of Service. This was often unreliable, as it was easy for drivers to manipulate their numbers in order to continue driving without adequate rest, putting other drivers and pedestrians on the road at risk. One trucking fatigue study found that, before ELDs, many truck drivers would routinely violate the hours of service rules. With ELDs, however, the devices automatically log the hours and miles traveled, and drivers cannot edit their driving time.

Accident Investigation

ELDs can also help create a clear record of a driver's activities. Through the use of built-in gyroscopes and accelerometers, ELDs can detect potentially "harsh events," such as excessive braking, sharp turns, collisions, etc.). These devices measure sudden changes in speed and direction, which can indicate a potential crash. A detailed log of a driver's speed, braking and other data can help investigators identify what happened and who might be at fault.

Vehicle Maintenance

ELDs can access engine data as they are connected through a truck's diagnostics port. This allows carriers to see how many miles a truck is being driven and identify any issues (through fault codes) before they become more significant problems. This means that, in addition to helping to prevent fatigued driving, ELDs can also help fleets to improve vehicle maintenance and keep their trucks safer for everyone else on the road.

If you were involved in an injury-causing trucking accident, call us today at (919) 887-7892 or fill out our form online for a free consultation!

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