Do ELDs Improve Driver Safety?
ELDs provide many benefits for drivers, but the FMCSA’s main reason for introducing the ELD mandate is to improve safety on the road. Every year, nearly 4,000 large truck accidents end in fatality, and driver fatigue is one of the leading causes. To help combat this issue, the Department of Transportation issued a mandate that requires all drivers of commercial motor vehicles to log their hours electronically through ELDs, instead of the previous paper logging model. Logging hours of service through ELDs, as opposed to the more autonomous (but less accurate) practice of paper logging, makes it easier and faster for drivers to track, manage, and share records of duty status data.
Instead of drivers having to manually log all of their hours, an ELD makes it automatic. Additionally, these devices monitor engine hours, vehicle movement, and miles driven – cutting down on the time drivers need to fill out paperwork. Drivers need not interact with their ELD while they are driving. The device synchronizes with a vehicle’s engine to automatically record driving time and lets drivers know when they are running low on hours or needing to take a break and rest, ensuring accurate compliance. This way, drivers are more rested and less fatigued while on the road, keeping drivers and those they share the road with safer.
While keeping drivers well-rested and awake on the road, ELDs can also monitor engine performance. Through this feature, drivers are alerted of any areas that may require service before issues occur, keeping the vehicle from becoming a highway hazard. With both the driver and their vehicle taken care of, the FMCSA hopes that this mandate will improve safety – and studies say that this is the case. The FMCSA recently released a report that studied accident rates in vehicles with ELDs compared to vehicles without them. ELD-equipped trucks were found to have a considerably lower crash rate – an 11.7% reduction in accidents. In addition, it is estimated that the ELD mandate will save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from crashes.