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New rules to record road hours have not reduced truck accidents

Residents of Kentucky are keenly aware of the dangers large trucks pose when they share the road with them in conventional passenger vehicles. When there is a crash, people are prone to being injured and killed. Federal regulators and law enforcement are avidly seeking strategies to make the roads safe for those on the road with these large vehicles, but as one new study shows, an attempt to regulate the amount of time truckers spend on the road in one sitting has not reduced the number of truck accidents.

Researchers from the University of Arkansas and Northeastern University assessed the statistics for truck accidents before and after the new electronic logging device were required in every truck and found that the numbers have been essentially the same. In fact, the ELD requirement coincides with a rise in the number of truckers who are cited for speeding. It is believed that drivers are trying to make up for time lost when they were no longer able to go beyond the hours of service by speeding.

The study focused on truck accidents from Jan. 1, 2017 to Sept. 1, 2018. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provided much of the data. There was a reduction in the number of violations for hours-of-service from six percent to slightly less than three percent when there was "hard" enforcement with little leeway granted to drivers. Independent truckers had a reduction of 10.7 percent to six percent. Larger carriers had a reduction to 0.75 percent from 0.85 percent. With truck accidents, the soft enforcement period had an average of 1,912 accidents each week. When there was harder enforcement, it was 1,703 per week. This was close to the statistics before the ELDs became mandatory.

Despite the best of intentions on the part of regulators and using the information at hand to try and reduce the number of crashes by dealing with a fundamental issue, the statistics clearly indicate that drivers will do whatever they can to get their loads to the destination as quickly as possible. While going beyond the limits for hours-of-service can spark drivers being fatigued, speeding is a problem as well and that increased after the ELDs were mandated. This information can be important when there is a truck accident as those who were injured or lost a loved one will need as much evidence as possible to get the maximum in compensation to cover for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. A law firm that has helped many clients after truck accidents should be called for advice on a case.

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