Truck accidents can occur at any time on the roads of Fairfield County, with common accident causes including driver fatigue. There are rules in place to combat the risk of drowsy driving and to prevent truckers from causing crashes to happen. Unfortunately, those rules do not always work effectively, especially since truck drivers maintain their own logs of hours-on-duty and may not always maintain accurate accounts of when they drive and when they rest. A new mandate going into effect soon hopefully will increase the effectiveness of laws limiting trucker's hours so the risk of drowsy driving car accidents can be reduced.
Truck drivers have to obey limitations on hours driven per day, and on hours driven over the course of a week. There are also breaks required after eight hours of driving for most truckers, and a mandate that truckers work no more than 14 hours total in the course of the day, only 11 hours of which can be drive time.
To ensure compliance with the rules, truckers are expected to keep logs of hours on duty. The problem is, paper logs which many truck drivers use to keep records of their time can and are falsified or not maintained correctly. The result is truckers driving when they should not be driving.
There has been substantial resistance in the trucking industry to hours-on-duty rules, as the New York Times reports. Because of this resistance, it is not unreasonable to believe truckers aren't following the rules. A trucker shortage may also prompt trucking companies to push their drivers to skirt regulations.
A new mandate, however, should significantly reduce disobedience of hours-on-duty rules. The new mandate requires truck drivers to install electronic logging devices in trucks by December of 2017. The rule was promulgated in 2015, but provided time for the regulation to take effect. Many large trucking companies already use electronic logging, but this will mark a big shift for smaller drivers. While some in the industry are concerned about the costs of installing the device and worried about the impact on independent truckers, Reuters reports the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates the new requirement for electronic logging will save around a billion dollars in paperwork and compliance costs.
The new mandate's purpose is not to save money: it is to save lives. As many as 26 fewer people will die each year and around 562 people will be spared injuries caused by truck accidents. The mandate is expected to save lives because it is hopefully going to ensure truckers comply with hours-on-duty rules. These rules reduce the chances a trucker will end up driving when he is too fatigued to be safe.
New York Times reported there have been numerous fatigued trucking accidents, including one crash which led to 10 fatalities when a 76-year-old-trucker fell asleep behind the wheel. Hopefully, accidents like these will become fewer and further between one the mandate goes into effect.