Truck driving remains one of the most dangerous professions in the world, especially in the US. It made the list of top ten deadliest professions alongside such occupations as deep-sea fishing or power line workers which already speaks volumes. The heavy cargo that is carried often turns the accident into a fatal truck crash for other drivers on the road, or sometimes even properties. The blinding sun might be the cause of one of the first pileups of the year, but the most common causes of truck accidents are way more complex. Let’s find out the 4 most persistent reasons why truck driving has become dangerous alongside a dash of mind-opening statistics.
When it comes to truck driving and fatigue, it takes the top positions in every statistical measurement of truck accidents in the US. Think of long-haul routes, minimal rest in between and overworking. Only a few of many reasons for fatigue.
Driving while being fatigued caused 13% of truck accidents in 2015 and still continues to be one of the main reasons why truck driving is a dangerous profession. Approximately 20% of truck drivers fall asleep at the wheel within the 30 day period.
Truck companies tend to put a lot of pressure on delivery, with short and firm deadlines compared to large distances that need to be covered. And this leads us straight into the second cause.
In 2017, speeding is shown to be the most frequently reported factor in driver-related fatalities. This overspeeding and overtaking issue within truck driving in the US easily points to the major pressure of deadlines.
But are those strict deadlines always possible to achieve? The risk is not just truck accidents, but potentially losing a job or paying a fine.
How about factors such as unexpected traffic jams, poor weather conditions, technical issues and more? That’s when overspeeding and overtaking comes in, and if truck accidents come at expense of speeding then it is more than likely to be fatal.
Alcohol and drug abuse is something that made our past list of overlooked issues in the trucking industry, and 2020 promises to be more in touch with this issue with projects like ClearingHouse.
However, today the problem still persists. And even with passenger vehicles taking the spotlight for this problem more, truck driving has been often an area where usage of alcohol and non-medicinal drugs on the job was spotted.
This problem is eclipsing almost every type of transportation sector while being responsible for approximately 10% of truck accidents in the US each year over the past 5 years.
Brake and tire problems are found amongst the top ones for large truck accidents and crashes. Yes – by law the companies are required to check the trucks so that they meet top conditions for hitting the road. But statistics indicate that is not always the case.
This is a result of cutting the cost and time that it takes to maintain the truck in the top-notch state.
Poorly trained drivers can also be the reason for major truck accidents in the US. And current driver shortages in the country might encourage some companies to hire someone as fast as possible, neglecting all the necessary training hours that are needed.
poladminJanuary 6, 20203:34 pmELD is in Full Effect in the US Trucking Industry – What Is It Exactly?
Back in 2012, the US Congress authorized the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill which is also known as MAP-21. Alongside the plans for highway funding included in the law, it also required to develop a rule mandating the usage of electronic logging devices (ELD). The ELD rule officially became a law on Feb. 16, 2016. For vehicles equipped with an AORBD, these had to be upgraded or replaced to meet full ELD status by Dec. 16, 2019. It has seen quite a lot of controversy over the years, but now that ELD is in full effect in the US trucking industry, let’s get to know and understand it better!
ELD devices are designed to record the data that showcases a number of hours driver works and rests each day to make sure they are compliant with government regulations. The driver information that mainly concerns hours of service that commercial truckers are restricted to is placed on a permanent record of driving hours, on-duty hours and rest time, over the course of a trip.
Originally, it was the paper logbooks that were used which then got replaced by an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD).
Today, the ELD is a replacement for both, that is now passed its deadline and is fully implemented throughout the US trucking industry.
So, how does the ELD work? First, the application software is installed either on a portable device like a phone and tablet or on a hard-wired in-cab dash-mounted device.
Then, the ELD synchronizes with the engine of the vehicle which allows for an automatic recording of duty status once the ignition is turned on. The device starts recording the driving time when the truck speed goes over 5mph.
Once the vehicle stops, the status can be changed to non-driving or on-duty depending on the driver’s actions taken next, whether he is fueling, loading, unloading or taking a break and sleeping.
The introduction of ELDs into the US Trucking Industry was led by multiple reasons that raised concerns and needed solutions. When the driver becomes tired and sleepy, it causes major accidents and draws great attention from media and lawmakers.
Wanting to ensure the drivers don’t exceed restricted driving hours and questioning the accuracy of paper logs were one of the main reasons that led to introducing ELD.
In general, the safer work environment for drivers, faster and more accurate tracking, managing and shared data is the aim of ELD to excel at.
Rarely comes an innovation without some kind of issues and challenges. And ELD has already experienced it multiple times. From online anti-ELD petitions to being upheld in court for driver privacy concerns to software malfunction – that’s just a small part of a bigger issue picture that still goes on.
However, while the ELD still needs great improvements and solutions, the benefits of it can’t be overlooked either. Whether its more miles on the road that leads to more money, better communication with a home office or simply reduced headache from paperwork and beyond.
The US trucking industry, truck drivers and ELD still have a long way to go to form a trustworthy bond, and it all starts now!