Big rigs are a common sight in California. Most people don’t even react upon seeing them, but a study has discovered that semi-truck crashes have increased. Surprisingly, the increase occurred after a mandate involving electronic logging devices was enforced.
Truck crashes on the rise after ELDs
A study performed by researchers at the University of Arkansas has found that commercial truck crashes have increased after a mandate involving electronic logging devices (ELDs). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) required the use of the devices.
The researchers reported that while the ELD mandate didn’t cause truck accidents, the devices produced more information. That data included unsafe driving practices by truckers, especially speeding, and picked up on additional accidents. This indicates that prior to the mandate, the number of semi-truck crashes went unreported or unknown.
Other information found after the mandate
One of the researchers involved in the study stated that the number of accidents for truck carriers the mandate was intended for did not see increases in accidents. Instead, the rise in semi-truck crashes affected smaller, independent carriers. Independently owned truck carriers saw an increase of 11.6% for accidents. Meanwhile, small companies that had between two and 20 trucks reported a 9% increase in crashes.
More truck drivers complied with reporting their hours of service, which was one of the goals of the ELD mandate.
A research associate from the University of Arkansas stated that a major reason for additional truck accidents was due to truckers’ hours of service. After looking at these data, the FMCSA aimed to offer more flexibility to drivers and provide them with more time to take rest breaks so they could be refreshed and safe when they resumed work.