Keys To Maximizing The ELD Mandate And Trucking Safety

As you know, on December 18, fleets across the United States will be required to switch from paper logs to electronic logging devices. The switch is all about hours of service and recording on-duty statuses, but more than that, there’s also a safety element involved.

How can these devices be used to improve trucking safety and compliance? Furthermore, can they help reduce the crash risk for both truck drivers and trucking companies? What should a fleet focus on in managing their safety program in concert with the ELD mandate? Finally, how can ELDs boost your safety efforts?

The fact is, truck drivers should be a key component of your efforts. As the focus on technology grows, it should become easier to proactively use the devices to identify and address unsafe behaviors.

Consider that ELD usage also greatly increases a carrier’s ability to achieve 100 percent compliance with Hours of Service and are a crucial part to combating truck driver fatigue. These devices are effective tools in limiting fleet liabilities.

So what should your top 10 ELD safety list include?

Saving Lives

According to FMCSA research, increased ELD usage is expected to save 26 lives and prevent over 1,800 accidents involving large commercial motor vehicles on a per-annual basis.

Some point to the fact that the number of truck fatalities are relatively small compared to the overall road vehicle fatalities.

In fact, the overall motor vehicle crash picture in the United States is way worse than what is caused by large commercial motor vehicles.

So, imagine if ELD usage could further decrease that number.

Decreasing Fatigued Driving

According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, data shows that fatigued driving accounts for over 72,000 crashes per year. Still a study done by the FMCSA in 2010 showed that a mere 1.4% of truck driving accidents could be attributed to fatigue.

Yet, truck drivers who are on the road for more than eight hours have twice the risk other drivers do of getting into a major accident. Since ELD usage rigidly enforces driving time, the risk of a truck driver going beyond the mandated limit and suffering fatigue is greatly reduced.

Impacting Truck Driver Health

ELD usage is also expected to have a big impact on truck driver health. As we have discussed before when talking about trucker wellness and sleep apnea, truckers are more susceptible to conditions that threaten their health and safety on the road.

Whether it be diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, truckers who face such health problems are more likely to be involved in a crash than those who don’t suffer from such ailments.

But how can ELD usage help? Quite frankly, by keeping truckers to specific schedule and ensuring they are getting the time off the road they require, ELD usage can have a big impact on their health, which is only a good thing for everyone involved.

Reducing Crash Risk

The fact is this, according to a number of studies, when a trucker uses an ELD device, their risk of crashing is reduced by over 11 percent. This compared those using ELDs to those using paper logs.

Consider who pays for the tab when one of your trucks gets into an accident. Never mind insurance expenses, you’ve also got potential litigation expenses to consider.

The fact is, while some consider the ELD mandate to be another example of government overreach, it can have a significant impact on the safety of your fleet and those on the roads among your truck drivers.

Whether or not you think the ELD mandate is a good thing, it can surely be used to increase safety measures fleet-wide, so why not embrace it and use it for just that?