Nearly 5,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Almost half of those crashes were the fault of the truck driver or caused by faulty equipment.

In many of these crashes, truck driver fatigue is to blame. That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented new rules requiring drivers to accurately record their time on the road by using electronic logging devices (ELDs).

Key requirements of the ELD rule

While there are some exceptions, the new regulations affect nearly all long-haul truckers involved in interstate commerce, including:

  • Those with trucks with total weights of 10,001 pounds or more, including freight
  • Those whose trucks have a gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight rating exceeding 10,001 pounds
  • Those transporting hazardous materials

The regulations target exhausted drivers

The ELD rule seeks to reduce the number of accidents by truck drivers who stay on the road too long without rest to get a bigger paycheck. Under the old paper log system, it was easy for drivers to cheat by simply writing down fewer hours than they actually drove.

Under the current FMCSA rules, truckers can drive up to 11 hours within a 14-hour window after being off-duty for 10 consecutive hours. ELDs monitor a truck’s engine, capturing data on whether the engine is running and whether the truck is moving, how far it’s driven and the total time it is in operation.

Crashes involving semitrucks have devastating results

A fully-loaded 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds causing massive damage resulting in catastrophic injuries, including death, for occupants of passenger vehicles. The FMCSA believes ELDs will make highways safer for everyone by keeping truck drivers from becoming sleep deprived.